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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

Rev. John Franklin Crowell, A. M., Ph. D., President of Trinity College, 



VOL. Ill, 








Edited by Rev. Levi Branson, D. D., 

Publisher, No. 31, Branson House. 



1. Some years ago I felt called to rescue some of our Sermion 
Literature from oblivion. I collected sixteen sermons, which 
composed Vol. I. I published and sold them promptly, mostly 
to subscribers. They are still doing good, especially to the 
masses who appreciate cheap, good books. 

3. Afterwards I found Vol. II. called for. I collected twenty- 
three sermons, published and sold them successfully. Very 
few of either volume can now be bought. 

3. I here present Vol. III., or " Thirty Sermons from Thirty 
North Carolina Preachers."' Most of the 2,000 copies printed 
are already ordered, and will soon be in the hands of the sub- 
scribers. The Sermons represent six different Evangelical 

4. This book of 300 pages, large type, has been prepared vsdth 
a view especially to benefit three classes : (1) Aged people who 
never get to church ; (2) afflicted people who, for the time being, 
are kept at home ; (3) young enquirers. I am certain that aU 
these, and many others, will be grealy benefited by reading these 
short gospel sermons. 

5. In this way the Lord aids me to preach — to help sound the 
Gospel Call, and I rejoice in the good work. 

May 6, 1893. Editor. 

Copyright, 1893, by IEdwards & Broughton, 

Levi Branson, Raleigh, N. C. | Printers, Raleigh. 

ScK. R. 

^.i \- CONTENTS, 


Heeeditary Tendencies to Sin 17 

By Rev. Dr. E. L. Peekins, of the North Carolina Local Min- 
isters' Conference. 


Heavenly Recognition 28 

By Rev. H. T. Daenall, Pastor Presbyterian Church, Diir- 
ham, N. C. 


The Duty of Forgiveness 34 

By Rev. Marquis Lafayette Wood, D. D., M. E. C. S, (late 
Missionary to China). 


The Christian's Safety . 44 

By Rev. Shockley D. Adams, Presiding Elder of the North 
Carolina Conference, M. E. C. S. 

Heavenly Citizenship 53 

By Rev. W. D. Morton, D. D., Pastor of Henderson Presby- 
terian Church. 


Stoning Jesus _ . . . 61 

By Rev. Jonathan Sanfoed, D. D., of the North Carolina 
Conference, M. E. C. S. 

"At Thy Word". 77 

By Rev. W. S. Rone, Presiding Elder of the North Carolina 
Conference, M. E. u. IS. 

Christ as a Friend ... . . 87 

By Rev. Robert P. Pell, Presbyterian Evangelist. 

The Atonement . 98 

By Rev. Joshua Brockett, D. D., of the A. M. E. Church, 
and Professor in the Colored Nornial School at Warrenton, 

N. C. 

On the Nature op Faith ... - 105 

By Rev. J. E. Bristowb, of the North Carolina Conference, 
M. E. C. S. 


14 C()NTE\']>\ 


The Divine Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures 112 

By Rev. Solomon Pool, D. D., of the Western North Carolina 
Conference, M. E. U. S. 

Christ's Coming 132 

By Rev. J. A. Rkagan. A. M , M. D. (Weaverville College), 
of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 


"If.".. 136 

By Rev. T. J. OGBtJRN, of the North Carolina Methodist Pro- 
testant Conference. 

Dark Days— Man's View and God's View of Calamities, 144 

By Rev. Jesse H. Page, of the North Carolina Conference, 
M. E. U. S. 


The Rich Fool.. 150 

By Rev. J. F. Butt, of the North Carolina Local Ministers' 


The Love OF Christ 156 

By Rev. James H. Cordon, D. D., of the North Carolina Con- 
ference, M. E. C. S. 


The Duty and Destiny of the Church. 169 

By Rev. F. L. Reid, D. D., editor of The Raleigh Christian 
A.dvocate and President of Greensboro Female College. 

Work While it is Day 184 

By Rev. E. C. Sell, of the North Carolina Conference, M. 

■V' E. C. S. 

Eternal Life 187 

By Rev. Solomon Lea, of the Noith Carolina Local Minis- 
ters' Conference, ana Principal of Lea.sburg Academy. 


The Gospel Call 191 

By Rev. Levi Branson, A. M.. D. D., Secretary of the North 
Carolina Local Ministers' Contorence. 

Contents. 15 


Christ and the Church 203 

By Rev. W. W. Stalky, of the Christian ';Church. 
The Great Business of Life 213 

By Rev. R. Harper Whitaker, D. D., of the North_Caro- 
Una Looal Ministers' Ooiireraiife. 


Unity in Diversity _ . . . . 236 

By Rev. W. P. Williams (Davidson College), of thelNorth 
Carolina Local Minister.s' G>jaferenee. 


The Transcendent Value of a Good Name 232 

By Rev. W. H. Mooke, D. D., of the North Carolina Confer- 
ence, M. E. C. S. 


The Greatest Book in the World 243 

By Rev. J. W. Carter, D. D., Pastor of the First Baptist 
Church, Raleigh, N. C. 


The Model Layman — Philemon 258 

By Rev. .1. W. Jenkins, of the North Carolina Conference, 
M. E. C. B. 

The Growing Responsibility of the Ages 266 

By Rev. G. A. Oglesby, Prosiciing Eider of the North Caro- 
lina Conference, M E. C. S. 

The Living Saviour - . . . . . . 286 

By Rev. J. .1. Hall, D. D., Pastor of the Raleigh Baptist Tab- 


The Lost Legacy 293 

By Rev. P. H. Fleming, Pastor Christian Church at Graham. 

On the Divinity of Christ 310 

By Theo. H. Hill, Raleigh, N. C. 

Rev. Dr. James A. Reagan, A. M,, 


North Crrolinr Sermons. 



By Dr. E, L. Perkins, 

Gf the North Carolina Local Ministers Conference. 

" The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set 
on edge." — Ezekiel, xviii: 2. 

This is the language of a proverb that had become 
common among the Jewish people. It was equal to- 
saying, our fathers have tasted the sweets of sin and 
we have an hereditary appetite for the same enjoy- 
ment. It was probably given sometimes as an excuse 
for the excesses committed. As an excuse, it would 
be thrown in this shape : We are not so much to 
blame for our love of the evil habits we pursue, 
because it is the natural result of appetites inherited 
from our aucestors. The prophet Ezekiel, as directed 
by the Ahnighty, warned the people of this saying, 
and assured them that every man should be account- 
able for his own sins, and, as a consequence, "The 
soul that sinneth it shall die." It is ever^^ man's 
duty to fight evil, not to excuse its indulgence, and 
for the neglect of this duty men are condemned. 

We propose to show that any indulgence in sin, 
not only embarrasses our own return to the path of 
rectitude, but throws innumerable stumbling-blocks 

18 North Carolina Sermons. 

in the way of our children, so that while a man is 
damning himself he is helping largely to damn his 
posterity. This is a fearful thought, but true as it 
is alarming, as you will perceive by the reasons given. 

We shall notice two ways in which parents entail 
ruin upon their children. First, by evil example ; 
and second, by transmitting hereditary traits of an 
evil tendency. 

1. By evil example, we mean those expressions or 
actions in the presence of children which lead to a 
discordant or vicious life. Hardly any trait in a 
child's character is more strongly marked than what 
a French writer, Alibert, calls " The instinct of imi- 
tation." Every child, as soon as it is capable of exer- 
cising its will over its own limbs, displays this instinct. 
The boy who gallops over the floor on his stick-horse, 
and the girl who puts her doll into a little cradle, 
show ver}'^ plainly that the imitative instinct is there, 
and as they grow larger and acquire more power, 
they approach nearer to the real conduct of their 
exemplars. Many crimes and many virtuous actions 
owe their origin to this overwhelming desire to imi- 
tate what we see and hear. So completel}^ is this the 
case that in many instances the act may be regarded 
as motiveless, outside of the motive to imitate. In 
some instances acts spring from nervous sympathy. 
A child enters a room and finds all within laughing 
or crying, and instantly begins to laugh or cry with- 
out knowing any cause of action. While there is 
little or no moral in such acts, it shows that the 
instinct of imitation is deeply embedded in our natures, 

Hereditary Tendencies to Sin. 19 

that it is irrepressible and will assert itself under all 
conditions of life. It is very clear that there is a 
potency in social environments that few have the 
power to resist. There is a constant tendency to drift 
or whirl with the current we are in, most especially 
if that current be broad and strong. It is well known 
that by successive generations imitating their parents 
and associates, national customs, usages and lan- 
guage are formed, and thus communities of men 
acquire that distinction and difference which so 
strongly characterizes one people from another. 

There are persons in the world who have very lit- 
tle will-power, and at the same time have great nerv- 
ous sympathy, with the desire to imitate strongly 
developed. With such persons the power of a dom- 
inant idea becomes almost irresistible. Surrounded 
by good examples, they will be foremost in good 
works; but place them under evil influences and 
they will hasten on in the path to ruin. Such per- 
sons will be always following in the direction which 
offers the least resistance. Children whose wills 
have been subject to the dictations of their parents 
and teachers, are generally plastic, and consequently 
subject to surreunding influences. They are like the 
dry sponge, ready to imbibe the first moisture that 
approaches it. Hence, we see the grave importance 
of securing for them the best examples in the outset 
of life. 

As parental example is the first with which the 
child comes in contact, it is the first to turn the cur- 
rent of life in the direction of evil or good, and to 

20 North Carolina Sermons. 

shape its future destiny. The child catches its first 
inspiration in a desire to imitate, and what it begins 
it repeats by habit. " Habit is the result of an act 
frequently repeated," and once a habit is formed it 
becomes a controlling force, in some natures, quite 
irresistible. The act is sometimes repeated, against 
the will, without any reason for it, simply because it 
is habit, either of bod}'- or mind. There is no resting 
place for evil habit once formed. Its tendency is to 
rush on, like the boulder loosened on the side of the 
mountain, accumulating momentum and increasing 
in velocity as it sweeps toward the plains below. 
The prophet recognized this force when he exclaimed, 
" Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard 
his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accus- 
tomed to do evil." Jer. xiii : 23. 

It is an accepted maxim " that those acts are most 
easily and well done which are often est done." This 
rule applies to the habits of the mind as well as of 
the muscles. Habit becomes "the kindest friend or 
the crudest foe to human welfare," according to its 
tendencies. It is the privilege of all parents, by 
early training, to direct their children into happy 
methods of thought and action. But unfortunately, 
man}^ parents are reckless of their example, either 
in language or action, and the children are led astray 
by their evil surroundings. " The parents eat sour 
grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge," and 
when the Lord speaks to the children we hear him 
say, " A-s your fathers did so do ye." 

This subject teaches us that we cannot be too 

Hereditary Tendencies to Sin, 21 

deeply impressed with the importance of placing 
pure examples before our children, and teaching 
them to shun evil habits as " the contagion of a 
deadly pestilence." We all know that by one course 
of conduct life is exalted, made happy and honora- 
ble, while by au opposite course life is debased, made 
miserable and thrown under a cloud of disgrace. To 
put the children in either of these courses is a work 
belonging to parents. Parental precept and example 
are the two sides of the great mould in which char- 
acter is cast. If the moulds are rough the image 
will be blurred and misshapen ; if smooth and pol- 
ished, the image will reflect credit upon its work- 
manship. Let us never forget that in a vast majority 
of instances men and women are, in their characters, 
a reflection of parental influence, and whatever we 
would that our children should be, let us try to be- 
come that thing ourselves. This is the only safe 
rule either for time or eternity. 

2. Secondly, we notice that parents entail ruin 
upon their children by transmitting an hereditary 

By hereditary taint we mean that physical, men- 
tal and moral corruption transmitted from parents 
to children, and which renders the children, thus 
corrupted, less capable of discharging the duties of 
life than those who have sound blood, sound intel- 
lects and proper impulses. This brings us into a field 
of reflection the most revolting and the most alarm- 
ing we could be called to survey. We tremble as we 
approach, knowing that at every step the most pol- 

22 North Carolina Sermons. 

luted scenes uncover themselves before us. It is a 
very common and true saying that " like begets like," 
and the scriptures recognize this truth in the declara- 
tion that " a good tree briugeth forth good fruit," 
while " a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." 
Any physiologist will tell you that parents affected 
with cancer, scrofula, erysipelas, pulmonary con- 
sumption, or any other blood taint, will transmit 
that taint to their children. This is a fact known 
and recognized throughout the medical world. It is 
just as true of disease as it is of the features of races 
and tribes of men and breeds of animals. Now, a 
child born into the world with an irritable nervous 
system, shattered by disease transmitted or lying 
latent, only wanting a favorable moment for devel- 
opment, cannot perform the duties of life with that 
satisfaction which belongs to those who are sound in 
every part. Some families of children die easy, that 
is, it takes but little sickness to kill them, and the 
physician often regrets the loss of his young patient, 
knowing that the disease ought to have been quite 
curable in one of sound blood. But people of heredi- 
tary taint intermarry, and the offspring shares a 
double portion of vitiated blood. With them, life is 
not a happy display of health and strength, but a sea- 
sou of weakness, and pain, and nervousness, and 
irresolution. Such children cannot battle with the 
troubles of life without feeling that their lot is one 
of peculiar hardship. It will be well if they have 
grace enough not to murmur against Providence. 
Parents, by dissipation, lasciviousness and extrava- 

Hereditary Tendencies to Sin. 23 

gant conduct, contract diseases that run like fire 
through the blood of their descendants, and malig- 
nant ulcers, ponderous abscesses, tormenting pains, 
nervous prostration and a thousand evils follow in 
the trail of one debauched life. A single night's 
debauch has often entailed innumerable evils upon 
the posterity of the debauchee and spread desolation 
through succeeding generations. No wonder that 
when the voice of heaven is heard on the subject it 
comes in words like these, " Cursed shall be the fruit 
of thy body ;" " The seed of evil-doers shall never be 
renowned." Hence God, in His wisdom and good- 
ness, has often seen tit to cut off whole families from 
the earth, and sometimes whole nations have shared 
the same fate It was a mercy thus to end a blood 
that had passed beyond the pale of redemption. 

But the worst feature of all, we have yet to approach. 
If the transmission of diseased blood was all the trou- 
ble there would be more ground for hope, but unfor- 
tunately appetites and passions are inherited. The 
peculiar tempers of parents are transmitted to their 
children with as much certainty as diseased blood. 
Drunken parents, as a general rule, have drunken 
children, while the sons of gluttony can point to 
their fathers as being the fountain of their inherited 
appetites. Parents of irritable tempers transmit these 
tempers with their blood, and then make them still 
more certain by their example That peculiar con- 
dition of the brain that gives rise to intense passion 
is one of the things that seldom fails to repeat itself 
in posterity. Sometimes the better influence of one of 

24 North Carolina Sermons. 

the parents may overcome the evil tendencies derived 
from the other, and a part or all the children for one 
generation may be saved from the evil ; but it is sad 
to reflect upon the fact that the baleful influence of 
both parents often overwhelm the children, and carry 
them like a whirlwind across the burning plains of a 
physical, mental and moral degeneracy. Idiocy has 
its tendency to repeat itself in one family ; apoplexy 
in another, epilepsy in another, and so of other dis- 
eases arising from impure blood. Sometimes heredi- 
tary diseases are known to leap over one generation, 
to break forth with renewed violence in the next. 
This is a well known fact, for which science has not 
been able to give a satisfactory reason. In like man- 
ner mental and moral defects, violent tempers and 
uncontrollable appetites and passions seem to suspend 
in one generation to reappear in the next. This 
thing has been a snare to thousands of good people 
who have intermarried where the evil was supposed 
to have been cured, but was only suspended. When 
too late the error has been detected. Few persons 
appear to be as wide-awake on this subject as the 
interests of the community demand. 

A man's thoughts and emotions are the instru- 
ments that chisel out the monument of his character, 
and that character is good or bad according to the 
purity or impurity of his thoughts and emotions. As 
mental and physical peculiarities are transmitted 
from generation to generation, and as our modes of 
thought and impulse are governed by these peculiar- 
ities, it follows that character is hereditary. As char- 

Hereditary Tendencies to Sin. 25 

acter fixes our destiny, for time and eternity, it becomes 
us to watch with the deepest anxiety ever}^ ten- 
dency to change for better or worse. Does it follow, 
because character is hereditary, that it is unalterable ? 
By no means. Man's will is given to him that he 
may work changes in himself, as well as in the 
objects around him. The rocks and trees must 
remain what they are, with all their peculiarities, 
because they have no will to order a change. They 
must abide the course of Nature, but man can choose 
and determine for himself, to be or not to be, so far 
S.S character is concerned. The man who has inher- 
ited a smooth disposition, and has been early trained 
by good examples, and brought into good habits, 
finds little difficulty in passing on up to a higher 
plane of Christian duty. But the man who has 
inherited an irritable temper, a passionate disposition 
and depraved appetite, finds himself hedged in with 
difiiculties that will require an immense struggle to 
•overcome before he can reach the planes of Christian 
manliness, and once he has reached that plane, he is 
beset with snares and temptations throughout the 
journey of life. He has to cultivate a will-power that 
the other has already inherited, just as the son of a 
poor man has to build a fortune while the heir of the 
rich has his fortune already in hand. But exercise 
gives strength, and he who wins a victory by great 
effort will be better qualified for the next assault. 

We cannot excuse ourselves,' then, by saying that 
our teeth are on edge because our fathers ate sour 
grapes. We may deplore the fact, but we have the 

26 North Carolina Sermons. 

use of our wills to choose or refuse; it falls within' 
the range of our duty to recover for ourselves that 
which our fathers have lost. The fortunes that 
have been lost by indolent parents have often been 
recovered by industrious children. Character-build- 
ers may do the same. The struggle may be long and 
arduous, but the reward will be satisfactory. 

We cannot close our eyes upon the fact that 
inherited passions and appetites have been the great- 
est barriers in the way of advancing reformation.. 
To gratify these passions and appetites, education has 
been neglected, the intellects of children have been 
dwarfed, and incorrigible ignorance has stood senti- 
nel over the thoughts and emotions, to keep back the 
agencies of light and knowledge Ignorance has for 
its relief-guard a host of the most bitter prejudices,, 
and thus the entrance of better principles has been 
effectually kept at bay. Where ignorance abounds 
passion is stronger than reason, and under the sway 
of unbridled passions and unholy desires the soul 
is ever ready to be caught up in a whirlwind of 
excitement and lifted beyond the domains of virtu- 
ous reflections. To diminish crime, then, of every 
description, we see that the great remedy is to teach 
self-control. We cannot lay too much stress upon 
this point. Bring the emotions in subordination to 
the will, and the foundation is laid on which to build 
any kind of character you may choose to erect. 
Neglect that point, and all your labor is lost. 

When we see the inebriate, with tear-bedimmed' 
eyes, going to spend the last dime of a fortune for 

Hereditary Tendencies to Sin. 27 

which his father toiled, and against the remon- 
strances of all that are near and dear to him, we see 
an instance where the power of the will is submerged 
by appetites and impulses inherited or acquired, and 
where self-control has been sacrificed on the altar of 
sensual gratification. Our great teachers are not 
those who convey the greatest amount of information 
in a given time, but those who are most successful in 
giving lessons of self-restraint. We can heartily 
subscribe to the saying that " A low education which 
teaches self-control, is better than a high education 
which fails in this achievement." 

Our propensities to sin, whether inherited or ac- 
quired, assume all the force of habit, and require 
an increasing vigilance and unremitting toil to con- 
quer them. Let us learn not to excuse ourselves, 
but to fight manfully, knowing that he who fights 
the hardest battle wins the highest applause. Excuse 
yourselves as you may, and still there comes against 
you a projectile from the divine catapult: " The soul 
that sinneth it shall die." Your personal responsi- 
bility to God can never be evaded. If your parents 
have thrown stumbling-blocks in your way you are 
required to remove them, and if your task is hard 
the crown of your reward is so much the brighter. 
He who gains the greatest number of victories has 
the greatest triumph, and the rewards of eternity are 
made up upon the principle that the Son of man 
shall deal to everyone " according to his works." 
Every victory you have won will fix another spark- 
ling gem in the crown of your rejoicing. 

28 North Carolina Sermons. 


By Rev. H. T. Darnall, 
Pastor Presbyterian Church, Durham, N. C. 

* * * " now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I 
am known."— I. Cokinthians, xili: 12. 

> It is a question of no little difficulty to determine 

what the difference shall be between our present 

bodily state where soul and body are united, and 

that in which we shall be out of the body, and we 

are dependent for its solution upon the Word of God. 

It would seena, however, first of all, that there is no 

warrant whatever for the materialistic idea that the 

soul is unable to feel or to act without bodily organs. 

The state of trance, prophetic vision, the apostle's 

being caught up to the third heaven and hearing 

unutterable things, would all seem to point in the 

opposite direction. Still, the question whether we 

shall know the loved ones vv'ho have gone before us 

when we pass into eternity is one that interests us 

all and must be considered in the light of Scripture, 

not so much by direct affirmation as by reasonable 

inference. We know they have not ceased to exist, 

and, if saved, are in heaven. But when we enter 

that many-rnansioned habitation, shall we know 

them ? 

" When the holy angels meet us, 
As we go to join their band; 
Shall we know the friends that greet us 
In that glorious spirit-land?" 

Heavenly Recognition. 29 

Millions have gone through the gateway of death, 
but none have returned to tell us of what is there, so 
that we cannot adduce the testimony of experience. 
Human philosophy oannot give us any certain light, 
its speculations teach us little or nothing. And yet 
Reason would point in favor of recognition, rather 
than against it. It is reasonable that those we have 
known and loved here, we shall know and love in 
heaven. It would be irrational to suppose that any 
such transformation shall take place at death as shall 
destroy the affections God has put into our hearts 
and has bidden us to cherish. It would be a dreary 
thought that human friendships are only for earth ; 
that they end at death, and that we shall enter 
heaven, one by one, as strangers in a strange land, 
unremembered and unrecognized by those we have 
loved and who have loved us in this world ; that the 
mother who has watched with tenderest love, in sick- 
ness and in health, the child that has gone before 
should be to that child in heaven as if she had never 
known it. It is cold, hard, repulsive. We know 
that love is right; God is love, and commands us to 
love one another. Ail the divine precepts unite in 
this. Love lasts forever. Friends in Christ here 
shall meet as friends there. 

Again, the continuance of memory in after life is 
in the same direction. We shall not forget the expe- 
riences of our earth-life. We shall remember that 
we were sinners and were saved by grace. In the 
parable of Dives and Lazarus Abraham says, " Son,, 
remember that thou in thy lifetime received st thy 

30 North Carolina Sermons. 

good things." So, too, we know we must give account 
to God for all that we have done on earth. Shall we, 
then, remember everything else, and yet, in regard 
to the closest, sweetest ties of earth, that so largely 
influenced our thoughts, words and actions here, 
memory shall be a blank ? Those who have loved 
and helped us, whom we have loved and helped, 
shall they be forgotten forever? And if memory 
lives on, and love lives on, can there fail to be re- 
union and recognition in the life beyond ? 

" If all be swept from memory, and no more 
A recognition win, 
Than if no breathing life had gone before — 
Than if they had not been: 

The tender things, the nameless ministries 

That once made life so fair — 
The sweet experience of a thousand things — 

Could any angel share ? 

Nay, let me hold the sweet conclusion fast, 

That the pure memories given 
To help our joy on earth, when earth is past, 

Shall help our joy in heaven." 

But to come to Scripture, when of any of God's 
ancient people it was said " He died and was 
gathered to his fathers," or "to his people," the 
statement cannot refer simply to the burial of the 
body. Abraham was buried far away from the rest- 
ing-place of his fathers. Moses was "gathered to 
his fathers," and yet Moses was buried on Mount 
Nebo, "and no man knoweth of his sepulchre." 
Jacob "yielded up the ghost and was gathered to 

Heavenly Recognition. 31 

his fathers " ; yet he was not buried for forty days 
afterwards. The meaning evidently is that the de- 
parting man went to join his ancestors in the spirit 
world, and the thought is that of one's friends and 
kindred gathered and waiting to receive him. " I 
shall go to him, but he shall not return to me," cries 
David on the death of his child ; he plainly believed 
his child was yet alive, and when his own course was 
ended he would meet him, know him and love him 
as before. Recognition runs all through the parable 
of the rich man and Lazarus. Abraham knew the 
rich man, for he recalls his life to him. The rich 
man recognized Lazarus, and also recognized Abra- 
ham whom he had never known in the flesh. In 
the mount of transfiguration, also, Moses and Elijah 
appear as companions, although Moses was in heaven 
five hundred years before Elijah. Peter, James and 
John, under that heavenly influence, seem to have 
known who Moses and Elijah were. Our Lord once 
said, "Make to yourselves friends of (by means of) 
the mammon of unrighteousness" (a name for 
money), i. e., make friends by doing good with your 
means, " that when ye fail they may receive you 
into everlasting habitations" — they whom you have 
befriended and helped will welcome you into those 
eternal habitations. But more than this: Heaven 
is a home, a place of " many mansions." It is our 
Father's house; we are his children ; but can we con- 
ceive of a home, a father and children, and the mem- 
bers of the family not know each other? We have 
all felt the sadness of loneliness — shall heaven cut us 

32 North Carolina Sermons. 

off from the tender intimacies of affection? Is it 
some cold, inhospitable land without welcome or 
greeting, as when some ship touches the shore and 
the poor immigrant comes off alone, knowing no one 
at the wharf, receiving no word or smile of recogni- 
tion, and yet we know the dearest and best of earth are 
there? Is that all Jesus meant when He said, "Let 
not your heart be troubled ?" Or is it not rather 

" As one who travel-worn and weary — 
Weary of wandering thro' many scenes — 
At length returning homeward, sees afar off 
The white cliffs of his father-land; and ere 
The laboring ship touches its sacred soil 
Leaps on the pier, while round him press 
His children, kith and friends, who in a breath 
Ask of his welfare, and with joyous tongues 
Pour all their love into his thirsting ear." 

" What is our hope or joy, or crown of rejoicing? "^ 
says Paul to the Thessalonians, " are not even you 
in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His com- 
ing?" Did he not expect to meet and know then 
those he had loved and led as a pastor on earth? 
Death does not destro}^ personality, the heavenly life 
cannot blot out the memories or influences of the 
earthly. The characters we build here will be per- 
fected, but surely not destroyed there, \yhatever is 
good and true and pure and lovely in us we shall 
keep forever. Life is but one; it begins here, it con- 
tinues there — death is but a stepping-stone to the life 
beyond. Death came by sin, and the sundering of 
earthly ties is one, at least, of its consequences ; but 
Jesus came to abolish death, to lift off the curse ; and 

Heavenly Recognition. 33 

shall death be no more and yet its consequents con- 
tinue? When we reach heaven M'e shall die no 
more, but shall we have to begin to know each other 
over again? Is this what Paul means when he 
says, "Then shall I know, even as also I am known"? 
"Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face 
to face ? " I cannot conceive of it so. I believe I shall 
clasp my mother's hand there again, I believe you; 
will know at once and love the little darling you 
gave up to God, that you will be again by the side 
of your Christian liusband to be parted no more,, 
that your sainted wife is waiting for you on the other 
side, and tliat pastors will meet their dear flocks there 
and rejoice with them. Yes, I believe we shall all 
know each other there, and shall look into each 
other's faces and see the joy beaming there, and shall 
all break forth into glad eternal hallelujahs. And 
now what practical lessons may we find here: First. 
This hope should make our earthly lives holier and 
better. Friends are waiting for us in heaven ; such 
a thought should lift us above the beggarly elements 
of the world, it should restrain us from sin. The 
benediction such a hope kindles in our breasts should 
give us a strong desire for holy things and an impulse to 
better living. Second. This truth should make us true 
and tender friends to each other in this life. Immor- 
tal affections should surely be sacred. If you thought 
you should never know or love the friends of earth, 
you would number tliem with temporal things and 
it would cramp and chill all earthly affections. But 
how deeply, how tenderly, we may love each other 

34 North Carolina Sermons. 

here when we know the separations of life are but 
brief, and heaven shall view their renewal in an 
unending union. How gentle our words, how patient 
and forbearing shall our lives be, holding our friends 
in such light as this. Third. This truth appeals to the 
unconverted. They have sainted friends in heaven 
they want to meet, perhaps have promised to meet 
as they bade them farewell here, and yet they can- 
not meet them unless they turn from their sins unto 

By Rev. Marquis L. Wood, D. D., 

Of the North Carolina Conference, (M. E. C, S.) 

Am I in the place of God ? Genesis 1 : 19. 

After the death of their father Jacob, the brothers of 
Joseph thought that he would certainl}?- requite them 
for the great wrong they had done him forty years 
before by selling him into slavery. They sent to him 
a messenger to remind him of his father's command 
to him to forgive his brothers their sin. They came 
and threw themselves at his feet, confessing the evil 
they did him, and offering to become his servants 
for life if he would forgive them Joseph wept when 
they begged him for their lives, and said to them, 
" Fear not, for am I in the place of God?" 

The doctrine of the text is, vengeance belongs to 
'God, and, consequently, it is man's duty to forgive. 

The Duty of Forgiveness. 35 

And perhaps there is no duty more important, and 
often more perplexing, than the duty of forgiveness. 
Hence it should be well understood. Our Saviour 
says, "It is impossible but that offences will come." 
It is impossible but that the interests of finite 
and sinful beings will sometimes conflict and occa- 
sion offences. And when the offences come, every 
sincere and honest person is anxious to know what 
to do. All such want to do right. Let us, then, try 
and bring to the study of this important subject the 
spirit of Christ ; and may the Holy Spirit help us to 
rightly understand it. 

The duty of forgiveness has two distinct phases, 
which we will consider separately: 1. Subjectively, 
as regards the offended person irrespective of the one 
giving the offence ; 2. Objectivel3% as regards what 
is necessary on the part of both offended and offender 
to bring about a reconciliation. 

We will take these up in the order stated, and con- 
sider them in the light of the teachings of the Holy 

I. Subjectively, as regards the offended person irrespective 
of the one giving the offence, or doing the ivrong. 

This, as is readily seen, has reference to the per- 
son who has been offended or wronged, regardless 
of the conduct of the person giving the offence 
or doing the wrong, regardless of his motive or of 
his animus. Sometimes it may not be possible 
to know at oace the mind of the offending party. 
Then what is right, what is his duty, for the person 
who is improperly treated ? Let us not forget that 

St) North Carolina Sermons. 

we are not asking for human opinions, or human 
codes. , We are studying this subject in the light of 
the teachings and life of Christ. He is the truth. God 
says, "Hear ye him." He is the only one who can 
speak authoritatively upon matters of Christain 
ethics. We are not inquiring what men, worldly 
men, think and say upon this subject. 

The Holy Spirit says, through Paul, Rom. xii : 19, 
"Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto 
wrath (the wrath of God) : for it is written, vengeance 
belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord." 
(R. V.) Then vengeance does not belong to man. 
Man has no right to use it, or to exercise it. God 
holds that in his own hands. Hence it is unmis- 
takably man's duty to refrain from vengeance, and 
under provocation he must divest his mind and his 
heart of all vindictive purposes and feelings. Our 
Saviour says, " When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye 
have aught against anyone." There is no condition 
mentioned in this statement. None was intended. 
When ye pray, forgive, if ye have aught against any 
one. There is no mistaking this language. And no 
amount of questioning or quibbling can weaken its 
force. It is an absolute requirement, an absolute 
duty. Our own forgiveness depends upon our for- 
giving, and that, too, in the manner here specified. 
"And whcEisoever ye stand praying, forgive, if 3^e 
have aught against any one; that your l<'ather also 
which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." 
Then the salvation of our souls depends upon our 
forgiving those who trespass against us. Our Saviour 

The Duty op Forgiveness. 37 

has given us a model prayer. "After this manner 
therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven." 
In that prayer He put this petition, " Forgive us our 
debts, as we forgive our debtors," or, as it is frequently 
rendered, " Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive 
those who trespass against us." Forgive us as we 
forgive. Let us analyze this petition. Suppnse a 
man who has been offended, or imagines he has been 
offended, and does not from his heart forgive, but 
cherishes vindictive feelings and purposes, goes to. 
God and prays this prayer. What does it mean? 
For what does he pray ? He asks God to forgive as 
he forgives, and at the same time he is cherishing 
vindictive feelings! Then he is asking God to visit 
vengeance upon his soul! Terrible! "For if ye 
forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father 
will also forgive you : but if ye forgive not men their 
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your tres- 
passes." ^ 

I read of a knight who had determined to go orS^ 
an expedition of revenge and communicated the 
fact to his chaplain, who tried to dissuade him from 
going. He would not listen to his chaplain. " Well," 
said the chaplain, " let us pray first." They knelt 
together, and the man of God said to the knight, 
"repeat after me." They commenced, " Our Father 
who art in heaven ; " but when they came to the peti- 
tion, " Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those 
who trespass against us," the knight stopped. His 
chaplain wanted to know what he meant. The 
knight replied, " I cannot pray that prayer. What ! 
I ask God to forgive me as I forgive, and I am going 

38 North Carolina Sermons. 

on an expedition of revenge! I can't pray such a 
prayer as that. I dare not." The man of God told 
him he must pray it, and urged him till he did; but 
when he rose from his knees he could not go on' his 
vindictive expedition. No man can truly pray " the 
Lord's prayer" and cherish revengeful feelings against 

" Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for 
an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, 
that ye resist not evil." What does our Saviour 
mean by this statement? "An eye for an eye, and a 
tooth for a tooth," is found in the Mosaic law. Did 
Jesus mean to annul and set it aside? By no means. 
He did not come " to destroy the law or the proph- 
ets." That was a part of the civil code, but the peo- 
ple had, by their teachings and practice, taken that 
law into their own hands, and all that Jesus intended 
was to restore it to its proper place in the civil pro- 
cedure. He taught that all must be true to the laws of 
the land, and see that they are executed. "Ye have 
heard that it hath been said!" How much wrong 
interpretation there is of the plain teachings of the 
holy scriptures under the plea of having heard some- 
body say something different. How solemn and 
authoritative the words of the great Teacher: "But 
I say unto you : that ye resist not evil : but whoso- 
ever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to 
him the other also." Dr. R. W. Dale says: "If this 
were meant to be taken literally, it would impose an 
extremely light duty. For in decent civilized 
society men verv seldom smite us on the right cheek 
or the left, so that the duty of turning the other 

The Duty of Forgiveness. 39 

would not come often ; and if one happened to smite 
us on one cheek, to turn the other as an act of obe- 
dience to Christ would require very little effort. But 
never to feel personal resentment against those who 
recklessly misrepresent us, who slander us, who in- 
sult us ; and even when duty requires us to take 
measures to resist or redress an injury, to be as free 
from the spirit of revenge as a judge on the bench 
when he sentences a thief to be imprisoned, or a 
murderer to be hung; to be righteously indignant 
at wrong-doing, but not to suffer tlie sense of the 
wrong done to ourselves to exaggerate the guilt of the 
wrong-doer, or to make us desire for our personal 
satisfaction that he should suffer for his offence — this 
is a much more diflScult matter, and this is what 
Christ requires." 

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long- 
suffering," and we dare not substitute as a code of 
ethics human prejudices and human notions, or the 
spirit of unsanctified human nature, for the Divine 

We now proceed to the second phase of our subject, 
namely : 

Objectively, as regards what is necessary on the part of 
both offended and offender to effect a reconciliation. 

This is conditioned, and the conditions are very 
clearly stated by our Saviour : " Take heed to j^our- 
selves : If thy brother trespass, against thee, rebuke 
him, and if he repent forgive him." He specifies 
something for both parties to do. Neither has the 
right to brood over it, or to talk about it to others. 

40 North Carolina Sermons. 

"Rebuke him." How? " If thy brother shall 
trespass against thee, go and tell his fault between 
thee and him alone." Go at once. Go alone. Go 
in the spirit of meekness, in the spirit of conciliation. 
Don't talk about it to others. That will simply make 
the matter worse. "If he shall hear thee, thou hast 
gained thy brother." But suppose he will not hear, 
then what? " Take with thee one or two more," and 
talk the matter over in their presence, " that in the 
mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be 
established." Such a course will show an honest 
desire to settle the difHculty and keep it from 
troubling the community. " And if he shall neg- 
lect to hear them " — will not be persuaded by them to 
make the proper acknowledgments — "tell it to the 
church." But do not trouble the church with it till 
the above directions have been tried. " But if he 
neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as 
an heathen man and a publican." He has shown by 
his unrelenting that his act was premeditated and of 
evil intent, and is now not iit to associate with the 
noble and the good. 

" And if he repent, forgive him." Repentance, 
then, is the condition upon which the offended must 
forgive and be reconciled. The offender has been 
properly approached, his wrong kindly pointed out, 
and he is ready to make the amende honorable. That 
is all that can be asked. " If he repent,"" Godly sor- 
row worketh repentance to salvation not to be 
repented of.'' "Sorrow," grief because a wrong has 
been done, regrets the wrong, would recall it, undo 

The Duty of Forgiveness. 41 

it if possible. "Godly sorrow worketh." Works to 
repair the wrong done, and to get right again. 
Works to salvation; works out of the difficulty; 
works to effect a reconciliation. No one is really 
sorry unless the sorrow moves to action; and the 
movement will be on the line of rep^iration and 
reconciliation. So we see that genuine re[jei>tance 
carries with it the doctrine and the duty of restilulion. 
He that truly repents, works; works to put himself 
right with God, and right with his brother; works to 
repair the injury done to society and to the cause of 
■Christ. If the trespass has been a fraud, he can 
restore that which has been obtained by the fraud ; 
if it has been a slander, a defamation of character, he 
•can correct that ; if it has been a libel he can publish 
a retraction. In a word, he will do everything in his 
power to repair the wrong that has been done. 
Where there is no restitution there is no repentance, 
no sorrow for the trespass, no sorrow for the sin An 
old Chinese woman embraced Christianity while I 
■was in China and joined the church. She then went 
to her children, her grandchildren, her neighbors, 
^nd told them that she had taught them wrong; that 
she had found " the true doctrine," and she wanted 
now to undo the wrong that she had done and lead 
them in the right way. She repented and brought 
forth fruits corresponding thereto. Zaccheus .said, 
" Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to feed 
the poor ; and if I have taken anything from any man 
by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And 
Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to 
this house." 

42 North Carolina Sermons. 

" And if he repent, forgive him." If he repent, this 
is the condition upon which God forgives ; and He 
requires the same between man and man. Forgive 
him, " For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your 
Heavenly Father will also forgive you ; but if ye for- 
give not men their trespasses, neither will your 
Father forgive your trespasses." So our own per- 
sonal salvation depends upon our forgiving one- 
another. " Put on, therefore, as God's elect, holy and 
beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, 
meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, 
and forgiving each other; if any man have a com- 
plaint against any, even as Christ forgave you, so- 
also do ye." Even as God forgives. He says, " For 
I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember 
their sin no more." Forgives and forgets. 

The necessity and the nature of forgiveness are 
illustrated by the parable of the unmerciful servant. 
" Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto- 
a certain king, which would take account of his serv- 
ants." One was brought that owed him ten thousand 
talents. He had nothing with which to pay. " His- 
lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and 
his children, and all that he had, and payment to be 
made." The servant begged for time, and he would 
pay all. Then his lord had compassion on him, and 
forgave him the debt. That servant went out and 
found a fellow-servant that owed him an hundred 
pence. He seized him by the throat, saying as he' 
did so, " Pay me that thou owest." He also begged 
for time, and would pay all he owed him. But no;. 

The Duty op Fobgiveness. 4S 

his fellow-servant put him in prison " till he should 
pay the debt." Now his lord had tlie hard-hearted 
servant called, and said to him, " O, thou wicked 
servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou 
desiredest me, shouldst not thou also have had com- 
passion on thy fellow- servant, even as I had pity on 
thee?" Did not justice, to say nothing of mercy, 
require that he should ? So " his lord delivered him 
to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due 
him." So we see that the forgiven debt comes back, 
simply because that servant would not forgive his 
fellow-servant. Now let us see the application that 
Jesus makes of this: " So likewise shall my heavenly 
Father do also unto you if ye from your hearts for- 
give not every one his brother their trespasses." 
Language cannot be plainer. There can be no mis- 
taking it. Our Lord says positively that there is no 
forgiveness on the part of our heavenly Father unless 
we forgive also. And if there is no forgiveness, there 
is no salvation. So that it is a most fearful thing to 
cherish animosity, ill will, an unforgiving spirit. 

Forgiveness is beautifully and forcibly exempli- 
fied in the life of Joseph. His brothers hated him, 
envied him, conspired to take his life; cast him into 
an empty pit to perish, but afterwards took him out 
and sold him into slavery. Years after, through a 
most wonderful providence, they are before him, but 
they knew him not. He was governor over Egypt, 
and had it in his power to have retaliated, and no 
one would have called him to an account for it. But 
no. He manages to have Benjamin brought to him. 

44 North Carolina Sekmons. 

Then makes himself known to them. Sends for his 
father, and provides for them all. After Jacob's 
death, and seeing that the authority of their father 
was gone, his brothers thought that Joseph would 
get satisfaction. They surrender themselves up to 
him, expecting death or slavery. Joseph replies, 
"Am I in the place of God?" As if he had said, 
"Do you suppose I am so wicked, so base, so mean, 
as to try to invade the prerogatives of God? Ven- 
geance belongs to Him, not to me." The meaning 
of his words in the text is, " I forgive you all the 
evil you thought to do me." He forgave them fully 
from his heart. " And he comforted them, aud spake 
kindly unto them," — spake to their hearts. Noble 
man! It is true dignity to forgive. It is ennobling. 
It is Godlike. It makes a man like God. It is the 
glory of God to forgive. 

By Shockley D. Adams, 

Presiding Elder of the Nortla Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S). 

" Watch and pray tliat ye enter not into temptation." — Matthew 
xxvi: 41. 

I do not think we can fully understand, or prop- 
erly appreciate, this language of our Lord "unless we 
regard it as a note of warning, sounding the alarm, 
telling of approaching danger, and putting us on 
our guard, that we may be fortified in the day of 
attack. Aud this warning comes from Gethsemane; 

The Christian's Safety. 45 

it sounds out from the depths of the agony in the 
garden. It first fell on the ears of tlie sleepy disci- 
ples, and the echo has ever since been falling on the 
ear of a drowsy church. It was spoken not only to 
the disciples, but to the " elect among the elect " — the 
three chosen to be with the Lord and witness a scene 
not surpassed in the annals of His suffering. It is 
intended at once, and for all time, to put believers 
on their guard; it indicates danger imminent and 
threatening, and to avoid it there must be prudent 
forethought, much watchfulness and prayer. 

The first lesson we learn from the text is this: The 
pardon of past sins will not avail unless 'Weare preserved 
from sin in the future. 

Sin depresses and degrades; pardon elevates and 
gives an honorable relation to the law and its author ; 
but elevation and honor do not remove our weak- 
ness, or so change our constitutional nature as to 
leave us without any affinity for sin, or any inclina- 
tion to wrong-doing. With pardon for past sins we 
may quietly sleep in the very arms of danger and 
of death. 

Our only safety after, pardon is in being preserved 
from temptation and sin ; and to be thus preserved, 
our Lord says we must not be drowsy and indifferent, 
but appreciating our danger we should " watch and 

The text presents the danger against which we are 
to guard — Temptation. 

The word tempt, or temptation, has two distinct 
meanings in the Bible. It is sometimes used in that 
sense which signifies to test, to try, to prove. 

4G North Carolina Sermons. 

It is used in this sense when it is said: "And it 
came to pass after these things that God did tempt 
Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham ; and he 
said, behold, here I am. And he said take now thy 
son, thine onl}^ son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get 
thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there 
for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which 
I will tell thee of." Here God did tempt Abraham, 
not to know his temper or disposition, but to furnish 
an opportunity for the exercise of the ChristiaiJi 
graces, his faith in God, his love for Him, the extent 
to which his obedience would go; and placed him 
where it became his privilege to build a monument 
to his memory more enduring than any ever erected 
to human greatness. And in this, the severest of all 
trials, God put great honor on him, so that he stands 
before the world to-day as the acknowledged "friend 
of God." 

But it has another, and, to us, a very important 
meaning. That is, to incite or entice to the commis- 
sion of evil. 

In this sense it is an inducement to evil, which 
becomes the occasion of sin. It is a solicitation 
which operates as a motive or consideration, the ten- 
dency of which is to inflame the passions, prejudice 
the mind, or in some way superinduce a desire to 
commit an unlawful and sinful act. It is used in this 
sense when it is said : " Let no man say when he is 
tempted, I am tempted of God ; for God cannot be 
tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man; 
but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away 

The Christian's Safety, 47 

of his own lusts and enticed. Then when lust hath 
conceived it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is 
finished, bringeth forth death." In this sense God 
-does not tempt, nor can He be tempted. This form 
of temptation comes as an allurement from the finite 
evil, and not from the holy infinite God. The pur- 
pose of the temptation is not to develop and strengthen 
Christian character, but to lead to compliance with 
its demands. To produce this disastrous result, there 
must be within us something that answers to the call 
from without, and inward affinity for an outward 
evil. The temptation comes breathing a soft, luxu- 
rious air, chimes in with our moral nature, appeals 
to pride, or prejudice, or passion, and offers such 
inducements as to lead to submission. 

The temptation is sometimes sudden, and, very vio- 
lent. It comes in an unexpected hour, from an unex- 
pected source, and with such violence as may well 
produce alarm. But little time for thought, to adjust 
the feelings, to exercise sound judgment, to pray, 
to get ready for the attack ; it is already on, with all 
its fearful force, and must be resisted, or the tempted 
must stagger and fall. Safety in such a conflict calls 
for great prudence and care. 

Most generally the temptation is seductive. 

The tempter approaches slowly, cautiously and 
with great seductive tact, and, covering his evil pur- 
pose, he gives the strongest assurance of entire safety, 
and affirms there is not, nor can there be, the least 
possible danger in dallying with this Delilah. And 
selecting the temptation from things the most beau- 

48 North Carolina Sermons. 

tiful and attractive though most poisonous, and bap- 
tising it with a christian name, he proclaims it is- 
the very embodiment of innocence, the life of enjoy- 
ment; and says that it is actually incorporated in 
the church of this age as a part of its religion. 

And there are so many church members who are 
ready to listen and to yield, protesting there is no dan- 
ger until harm's work is done, and the worst results 
are realized. The process by which this is effected 
is a study. Its work is not done at one bound, not 
always in an hour, or a day. Time, thought, and 
skillful management are necessary. A proper sub- 
ject, the place and surroundings must all be consid- 
ered. Here is about the process: An evil thought 
entertained soon developes into strong imagination, 
producing a pleasurable sensation, which acts on the 
will as a motive power, gaining its consent ; and 
then the work is done. 

The soul that once soared on high and held com- 
munion with the invisible and eternal, now with 
broken wing flutters in the dust unable to arise and 
claim kinship with the skies. Overcome of evil, 
how has the mighty fallen ! But here is another 
lesson : We are overcowx, not by the power of tempta- 
tion to force the luill, but by our own lueakness in yield- 

Our danger is in our weakness; that is the point 
to be guarded. We are not to destroy the enemy ; 
that is not our work. We are to build character, and 
so fortify ourselves that we may stand any attack 
that may be made. If we have truth and Christ for 

The Christian's Safety. 49 

us, there may be such an impartation of strength as 
to preserve us amid any onslaught of the enemy. 
Martin Luther said: " Once the Devil came to me 
and said, ' Martin Luther, you are a great sinner, 
and will be damned.' ' Stop, stop,' said Luther, 'one 
thing at a time. I am a great sinner, that is true, 
though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess 
it. What next? — therefore you wilj be damned. It 
is true I am a great sinner, but' it is written Jesus 
Christ came to save sinners, therefore I shall be 
saved. So I cut the Devil off with his own word, 
and he went away mouthing because he could not 
cast me down by calling me a sinner.' " 

Luther was too strong for the Devil in that con- 
test, and so may we be in every trial of our strength if 
we live in Christ and draw supplies from Him. He 
that is for us is greater than all that can be against 
us. To do that, we must watch and pray. 

These are the means to be used for our protection 
and safety. Their importance is clearly indicated 
in the text. They are closely allied ; inseparably 
connected. Watchfulness will promote prayer ; 
prayer will increase watchfulness. While we watch 
we pray, and while we pray we watch. Both must 
be utilized — woven into the very texture of our spir- 
itual life. 

Watch. Here it is standing in the front, calling 
loudly, and wooing us on. To watch is to give atten- 
tion, to be vigilant, to guard with care. Watch and 
wake are different forms of the same word, they carry 
the same root idea; they look to the same end. To 

50 North Carolina Sermons. 

watcb, then, we must be awake, wide awake and so ' 
continue, and not, like the chosen disciples, sleep 
in the garden and in sight of the cross. But it 
means more than that: It means that all our wake- 
ful powers should be in full exercise, guarding 
against the approach of evil — anything that may 
lead to temptation. We must be so wide awake to 
our interest and safety as to see approaching danger 
in the distance, and keep out of its way. 

*'Argus" is fabled to have "had a hundred eyes, 
only two of which slept at once. But when Mercury 
came and played the Pandean [)ipes, and made music 
of a new and touching kind, and told enchanting 
tales until a late hour of the night, he saw the hun- 
dred eyes all closed at once, and the head leaning on 
his breast. Then Mercury drew his sword and at one 
blow severed the head from the body, and it went 
tumbling down the cliffs beneath. The hundred 
eyes were nothing worth when they were not used 
for the purpose for which they were given." 

Argus slept and lost his head, aad with it all was 
o'one. It is not so much the powers we mav possess 
as those wisely used that saves from defeat and fail- 
ure. Watchfulness is a power for good. It puts us 
on our guard, shows us approaching danger, places 
us in a position for defence, but does not give the 
strength necessary to our safety. Nor is that strength 
ours— within us. It is foreign, divine, God-given, 
and is received for the asking. It is inseparably 
connected with prayer. Hence the command of the 
Master, " Watch and pray." 

Tpie Cpiristian's Safety. 51 

Pray. Our Lord's condescending proposition is: 
"Ask and ye shall receive." " Whatsoever things ye 
desire when ye pray believe that you receive them, 
and ye shall have thera." 

A believer's watchfulness must be like the senti- 
nel on the outer post, who when he sees the enemy's 
forces advancing does not go out to meet thera sin- 
gle-handed and alone, but reports to headquarters, 
that the commanding general being advised may 
direct the defence and rout the enemy. So the Oiiris- 
tian watching and waiting, when he sees the enemy 
approaching goes to the Lord in prayer, and He 
prepares him for the day of battle. 

An essential element of prayer is earnestness. 

The soul must be in it, every sentence must be an 
expression of want, and tell its tale of helplessness 
casting itself on power; of infirmity leaning on 
strength, and of misery wooing bliss. 

Hannah Moore said: " Prayer is t,he application of 
want to Him who only can relieve it; it is the voice 
of sin to Him who alone can pardon it. .Jt is [lie 
urgency of poverty, the prostration of humanity, the 
fervency of penitence, the confidence of trust. If is 
not eloquence, but earnestness ; not a definition of 
helplessness, but the feeling of it; not fi uie- of 
speech, but compunciion of soul. L is the Lord >ave 
us or we perish of <lrowning P<-ter; the v<oc" of 
faith in the ear of mercy." 

But in the text our Lonl teache-^ .svnvi! pers'/nal 

This is indicated by th(-' phruBcotoirv of iti-- ti-xt 

52 North Carolina Sermons. 

and his example in the garden. He was in the gar- 
den with His disciples and said to thena, " Sit ye here 
while I go and pray yonder." In another place, 
he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebe- 
dee and said unto them, " My soul is exceeding sor- 
rowful, even unto death, tarry ye here and watch 
with me." He went a little further — was then alone 
with the Father, in the depths of his agony, keenly 
pierced, almost exhausted, and in secret he prayed, 
" O, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou 
wilt." Secret prayer is tiie life of the soul, and he 
who prays much lives much with God, loves much, 
endures much, enjoys much and has great peace. 
" And when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and 
when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father 
which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in 
secret shall reward thee openly." 

For success in prayer, preparation is necessary. 
• A proper place. '"' Enter into thy closet " Yes, 
that is the place, " thy closet." Everyone should 
have a closet for secret prayer. Enter into the quiet 
private place, where Christ meets the devout soul 
and gives the overflowing fullness. Have you a closet, 
and have you entered into it ? 

It is thy closet. You have absolute control of the 
place now. Let me emphasize, "7% c^osei." Yours 
and yours alone. "Sliut thy doarJ' Ah, there it is 
again — " Thy door." It must be the door of thy 
heart — shut it; shut out the world, its business, its 
distracting cares, its multiplicity of annoyances ; shut 

Heavenly Citizenship. 53 

out M'ife and children, everybody and everything. 
No intrusion there. That is a sacred place. There 
you go to meet the living Christ. Glorious thought! 
Blood-bought privilege — in the closet with the world's 
Redeemer ! Pray to thy Father which is in secret ; 
unbosom thyself now ; no reserve — let all come, the 
worst, the best, all, for He knows all, and has prom- 
ised to supply all your wants. 

There is safety ; in the closet, reaching out after 
Christ, until He is realized in His personal presence, 
and the soul is so absorbed in Him as to utilize the 
wealth of His resources in guarding against the 
power of temptation. There we may securely rest 


By Rev. W. D. Morton, D. D. , 

Pastor of the Henderson (N. C.) Presbyterian Church. 

" For our conversation is in licaven."— Philippians iii: 20. 

" The heavenly citizenship." Though dispersed 
among the nations and kingdoms of this world, 
Christ Jesus has a peculiar people. By His Holy 
Spirit He has called them out from the world, and 
begotten in their souls an allegiance to Him which 
rises superior to every other. Jesus rules over a mul- 
titude of willing subjects, who fully yield Him the 
love and devotion of their grateful hearts. Christ 
has erected His kingdom upon earth ; but this world 
of sin is not its permanent abode. Its subjects are 

54 North Carolina Sermons. 

for a little while left in the jWorld, yet they are " not 

of the world;" and in His Father's house of many 
mansions, the Saviour has gone to prepare for His 
people a home where there shall be no more sin and 
"no more curse." The redemption, calling and 
destiny of the believer are the highest incentives to 
holiness. When, therefore, the worldliness and rice of 
certain spurious members of the Philippian church 
began to threaten the purity and life of the flock, 
Paul solemnly warned the church against these ene- 
mies of the Cross of Christ, who, gross, godless and 
sensual, delighted in earthl}'' things. In contrast 
with tiiese hypocrites, Paul declared, of the body of 
true believers, " For our conversation is in heaven." 
The literal meaning of the word rendered "conver- 
sation" is citizenship, and is originally significant of 
the privileges and protection secured to the citizens 
of Rome by the imperial government. Only a 
favored class in the Roman Empire were possessed 
of these rights of citizenship. More than once Paul 
had realized the privileges he possessed as a Roman 
citizen. When he was seized by the frenzied mob*of 
Jews at the Temple and rudely dragged from its sacred 
precincts a cruel scourging awaited him, as the 
captain of the Roman garrison commanded him to 
be examined under the lash ; but even as the execu- 
tioner prepared the knotted ends for the bloody pun- 
ishment, the Apostle paralyzed his arm by the ques- 
tion with which he pressed his superior: " Is it law- 
ful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and 
uncondemned?" Acts xxii: 25. When Paul insisted 

Heavenly Citizenship. 55 

upon his rank, the captain replied, " With a great 
sum obtained I this freedom ; " when the Apostle 
answered, " But I was free born." Verse 28. 

Then you will remember how a discovery of Paul's 
rank extorted from the magistrates at Philippi his 
release, as well as an apology, when they had inflicted 
scourging and imprisonment upon him and Silas, 
ignorant that Paul was a Roman citizen. When the 
Apostle wrote these words to the church at Philippi, 
we may well suppose that memories of that deliver- 
ance freshened in his mind. Paul was a citizen of 
Pome when the Empire was in its pride. The iron 
grasp of its hand was felt alike on the banks of the 
Euphrates on the east, and the Pillars of Hercules 
in the west, and within a radius of more than five 
hundred leagues from her capital the Eagles of 
Rome protected her citizens in their rights. But 
far grander and more powerful is the kingdom whose 
glories filled the Apostle's soul when he wrote those 
words. He then thought of citizenship in the great 
commonwealth of the "King of Kings"; of an in- 
heritance in that kingdom where the Lord God 
omnipotent reigneth. 

1. Then,wesee,Christ Jesus has a kingdom. Before 
his incarnation Gabriel revealed it to Mary. " He 
shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the 
Highest, and the Lord shall give unto him the 
throne of his father David, and he shall reign over 
the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there 
shall be no end." Luke i : 32, 33. The kingdom of 
our Lord is extensive and eternal ; it is composed of 

56 North Carolina Sermons. 

the citizens whom his Holy Spirit calls out of the 
world, and their names are all registered upon the 
page of the Lamb's book of life. Jesus said to the 
seventy disciples, "Notwithstanding, in this rejoice 
not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather 
rejoice because your names are written in heaven." 
Luke X : 20. This divine register contains the names 
of souls of all ages and nations who have washed 
their robes in the blood of the Lamb. From the 
faithful young Abel w^ho first passed through the 
deep waters into the eternal joys of the kingdom, on 
down the ages to the last expectant soul who as I 
speak has accepted Christ as his King. 

2. But let us examine the privileges and mark the 
obligations of this heavenly citizenship: (1) While 
the kingdom of the Lord is eternally prepared for 
the blessed objects of God's grace, the first comfort- 
ing effect of his citizenship revealed to the conscious- 
ness of the believer is a sense of God's love in 
the pardon of sin. This is a privilege to the heav- 
enly citizen even here upon earth of which David 
spoke: "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord 
imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no 
guile." Ps. xxxii : 1, 2. In its natural sinful state 
the human heart is utterly opposed to the divine 
government and service. The carnal mind is en- 
mity against God. The impenitent soul, obstinate 
in sin, not only rejects but despises the claims and 
privileges of Christ's kingdom. The Holy Spirit 
finds the guilty soul blindly following this course of 
ingratitude and rebellion. He convinces the sinner 

Heavenly Citizenship. 57 

of the guilt of his rebellious life and exhibits the 
love and tenderness of God in Christ Jesus. He is 
thus led to repentance, and as he exercises faith in 
Christ and rests upon Him for pardon, the atoning 
work of Christ is reckoned to him as a complete sat- 
isfaction for the claims of divine justice, and his sins 
are covered up — remembered against him no more 
forever. "He will turn again. He will have compas- 
sion upon us, He will subdue our iniquities, and 
thou wilt cast all their sins in the depths of the sea." 
Micah vii : 19. (2) Beyond this, the citizens of Christ's 
kingdom are cleansed from the pollution and deliv- 
ered from the power of sin. Mere pardon does not 
remove moral depravit}'. Pardon relates to tlie guilt 
of the sinner as meriting punishment, but cannot 
remove moral pollution. Pardon relieves the offender 
from fear of punishment, but does not remove the 
stains and pollution of his soul; and did the work of 
redemption go no further, an insuperable difficulty 
in the way of the sinner's peace, purity and happi- 
ness would still remain. But the believer is not only 
justified, he is sanctified. He is cleansed from the 
taint of sin. In His sanctifying power the Holy 
Spirit continues His work in the heart of the be- 
liever, and "he is enabled more and more to die unto 
sin and live unto righteousness." AVlien called into 
the tearless land of eternal peace, this work is com- 
plete. Then when the citizens of Christ's kingdom 
are ushered into the presence of the King, they will 
not go cowering and blushing as a band of timorous 
pardoned criminals; they will not only be justified, 

58 North Carolina Sermons. 

but sanctified; not only pardoned, but purified, and 
stand spotless peers of the purest angel to join in the 
grateful acclaim, "Thanks be to God which giveth 
us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (3) 
But the disciples of Jesus are not only fellow-citizens 
and saints of the household of God, but they are God's 
children. Christ left His heavenly home Dot only to 
seek out and win back that which was lost, but to 
receive them into his family. " The Spirit itself 
beareth witness with our spirit that we are the chil- 
dren of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of 
God and joint heirs with Christ." Rom. viii : 16, 17. 
" Having predestinated us unto the adoption of chil- 
dren by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good 
pleasure of his will." Eph. i : 5. "But as many as 
received him to them gave he power to become the 
sons of God, even to them that believed on his name." 
John i : 1, 2. The names of Christ's children are all 
very familiar and very dear to Him. "Behold, I 
have graven thee upon the palms of my hand, thy 
walls are continually before me." Isa. xlix : 16. If 
the citizens of a powerful nation can find protection 
in a foreign land under the flag of their country or 
its official representative, how much more may the 
Lord's pilgrims and strangers on this earth, whose 
citizenship is in heaven, realize their security and 
peace under the sheltering arm of their omnipotent 

3. If these, then, are the privileges of the heavenly 
citizenship, what are the duties thereby involved ? 
If eternally chosen of God, if redeemed and justified 
bj^ our Lord, if adopted into His family and sancti- 

Heavenly Citizenship. 59 

fied by His Holy Spirit, what high and sacred obli- 
gations do we owe our Great King! In all of our 
words and actions we should acknowledge God as 
our Father. If children of the kingdom we must 
confess our Lord. Christ passed by and saw us in 
our rags and wretchedness; He has adopted us into 
the family of God, and this, too, at the cost of His 
own precious blood. We must, then, delight to avow 
His name and to serve Him with all our hearts. 
Then, too, if in God's household, and in truth His 
children, we must wear the colors of our Lord. We 
are His soldiers, and we must not parle}^ or compro- 
mise with God's enemies. "Know ye not that the 
friendship of the world is enmity with God, whoso- 
ever, therefore, will be a friend of the world, is the 
enemy of God." James iv: 4. Ti)en, if children of the 
kingdom, this v/orld is notour home; we are pilgrims 
and strangers upon the earth. We should, in every 
daily duty, and in our transactions with men, keep 
this thought before us; it will cheapen the value of 
earthly and enhance the importance of heavenly 
things. Let us, then, use this world as not abusing it, 
knowing that the fashion of this world passeth away. 
This principle should dictate our tenure and use of 
all earthly goods with which God has entrusted us. 
We are Christ's stewards. The title to our wealth is 
all in him. The riches of His glorious kingdom are 
reserved for us. Then, instead of being engrossed 
with the pleasures and absorbed b}' the cares of this 
world, let us bear in mind that they are the uncer- 
tain temporalities incidental to our pilgrimage from 
this alien world to our heavenly home. How^ much 

60 North Carolina Sermons. 

more serene the lives of God's children, how much 
less painful the parting from this world, did they 
ever hold it at its true cheap rate! It may be like 
the palace coach as, garnished with bright tinsel and 
decorated with showy paintings, it flashes back from 
its glittering mirrors the stranger faces that walk its 
passages ; it may attract with spongy carpets and 
soft cushions as it smoothly glides over its track of 
steel, but. Christian brethren, it is not home! When 
we forget the emptiness and transient character of 
this world, when we cease to regard it as a taber- 
nacle and esteem it as our /lowe, our abiding place, 
then the hopes of heaven grow dim and the joys of 
our Father's kingdom become faint. Thoughts such 
as these doubtless dictated the reply said to have 
been made by Samuel Johnson to David Garrick, 
who, having followed him over the enchanting 
grounds and through the magnificent halls and 
stately chambers of his palatial house, said to the 
great actor, "Ah! David, these are the things that 
make it so hard for a man to die." 

Let us, then, beware of forgetting that our true 
abiding p'ace and our glorious citizenship is not 
here. Let us feel that this place is but a place of 
preparation for a better ; that it but afifords the time 
and opportunities God grants for seeking a heavenly 
home. Then we will from here, as a temporary place 
of sojourn, look for our Saviour from sin and from 
death, who shall "change our vile bodies that they 
may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, accord- 
ing to the working whereby He is able even to sub- 
due all things unto Himself." 

Stoning Jesus. 61 


By Rev. Jonathan Sanford, D. D., 
Of the North CaroUna Conference (M. E. C, S.)- 

" Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which ot 
those works do ye stone me? '" — John x : 32. 

Jesus of Nazareth has just finished one of his most 
beautiful sermons, in which he declares and illus- 
trates his mission on earth by the parable of the 
Good Shepherd. For simplicity, pathos, and adapta- 
tiou to his audience, it has no rival among the pic- 
torial discourses to instruct the people in the way of 
salvation. The inimitable artist is at his best and 
he makes a supreme effort to break down the preju- 
dice of the Jews and win them to his cause. They 
hated him without a cause, refused to investigate his 
claims, and, in their blindness, ascribed his divine 
works and acts to the inspiration of the Devil. We 
fail to see anything mysterious or offensive in the 
parable. It is especially adapted to their wants. 
The Good Shepherd was no new thing to them. They 
proudly claimed to be the descendants of the shep- 
herd kings and prophets ; some of whom they rightly 
estimated as the most distinguished and best of men. 
Moses and David were faithful shepherds, who led 
their flocks to the green pastures and sparkling 
brooks before God called them to the higher and 
more responsible vocation of leading men to the river 
of life. The royal Psalmist in his day recognized his 
subordinate position, and with his prophetic eye on 

62 North Carolina Sermons. 

the Ciiief Shepherd to come, set redeeming grace to 
music, when, in the spirit of inspiration, his skillful 
fingers touched the harp strings and he sang, "The 
Lord is my shepherd ; I shall not want." David's 
Lord was in their presence and they knew Him not. 
To them had been committed the prophecies point- 
ing to His birth, the works He was to do with math- 
ematical precision, but wiien He presents His cre- 
dentials, and invites them to investigate His claims, 
they refuse lo believe Llim. To them He is a de- 
ceiver, a disturbing, dangerous eleuient in the church, 
that must be suppressed. His appeals are simple 
and fair: "If I do not the works of my Father, 
believe me not. If I do, believe ms for the very 
works sake." " Search the Scriptures and see, they 
testify of me." Compare them with my works — 
"The blind see, the deaf liear, the lame walk, the 
dumb speak, the lepers are cleansed, the dead are raised 
up and the poor have the gospel preache^i to them." 
These works bear witness that I am the Son of God. 
But no matter what he did or said, they demanded 
additional evidence. "Show us a sign," was uttered 
in the presence of the most astonishing miracles, the 
reality of which they did not attempt to deny, they 
could not, and their force must be broken by other 
methods. Just now they are outraged because Jesus 
opened the eyes of a blind man on the Sabbath. It 
is a difficult case. He was born blind, and they are 
confronted by the stubborn testimony of the man 
himself that his benefactor was called Jesus. The 
miracle has made a profound impression, and imme- 

Stoning Jp:sus. 63 

diate action is necessary or many will believe on 
Him. Tl]e parents are called, who cannot but affirm 
"He is our son and was born blind. This we know, 
we know that his eyes have been opened, by whom 
or by what means, we know not. He is of age 
and caa speak for himself." When the man is 
called, the case becomes more difficult. Neither the 
Sabbath question, nor the fear of expulsi -n from the 
synagogue, the weapons at command, were suffi- 
ciently formidable to suppress the testimony of the 
grateful man whose dead eye-balls had felt the heal- 
ing touch of the lil'e-giving fingers. To the bit'er 
falsehood, " We know this man is a sinner," he 
answered with emphasis, " Whether lie is a sinner 
or no, I know not; but one thing I know, tliat 
whereas I w^as l)lind, now I see.'" Tiiis incri ased 
their enmity, and wdien afterwards they fo in<l him 
kneeling at the feet of Jesus, in the very act of wor- 
ship and confession of faith that He was the Son of 
God, they were enraged, and expressed their halted 
by casting him out of the synagogue. ^ Jesus k ew 
they were watching Him with murderous intentions, 
ready to stone Him to death if He c >mmilted Him- 
self by a direct answer to the C[uestion, "Art Tliou 
the Son of God?" His love knew no bouruls. He 
came to save His enemies, and impelled by His 
divine solicitude to save, He makes one more effort 
to open their spiritual eyes to see their fatal mistake. 
In the most solemn manner He compares Himself 
to the Good Shepherd ; the Jews to th^- sheep; and 
with a skill that no human artist can imitate. The 

61 North Carolina Sermons. 

picture of the true and faithful shepherd, his duties, 
his love for the flock, the sacrifice he makes, are the 
subjects from which the heavenly artist draws the 
series which compose the wonderful panorama — 
the sheep-fold, the flock, the shepherd leading them 
to green pastures and sparkling brooks, and giving 
his life, if necessary, if the wolf comes to kill. His 
comment is simple and touching. "I am like the 
good shepherd, and lay down my life for the sheep." 

The Result. The sermon, so full of love and earn- 
est solicitude for the salvation of men, ended in con- 
fusion with a division of sentiment. 

Many said, " He hath a devil and is mad," others 
said, " These are not the words of him who hath a 
devil;" while someone, impressed by the miracle 
which introduced the wonderful discourse, cried out, 
"Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" This 
pertinent question the enemies of Christ and Chris- 
tianity find a difiicult one to answer. 

Weary and disappointed, Jesus walked in the Tem- 
ple in Solomon's porch, where he w^as soon sur- 
rounded by the Jews. 

The Crisis. The plot is growing intensely impres- 
sive, and seemingly the Good Shepherd must surren- 
der to the wolves. They are evidently hungry for 
blood. They attempt to appear in sheep's clothing, 
but cannot hide from omniscience the angry glitter 
of the wolf's eye. " How long„dost thou make us to 
doubt ? " " If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly," are 
the false words with which they hope to entangle 
Him. He knew their deep and wicked meaning, 

Stoning Jesus. 65 

the object they had in view; but with a few words 
of reproof and instruction He gave them what they 
wanted compressed in five words, " I and Father 
ARE one." 

This is plain enough, and in a moment the wolves 
are unmasked. They take up stones to stone Him. 
For what? What has He done or said to provoke 
them to madness ? Ye astonished and insulted heav- 
ens; and thou, earth, if thou wilt, answer, what 
has Jesus done, that He should be stoned to death ? 
Who is mad now ? As we watch the hypocrites un- 
masked, the eyes flashing with rage, the nostrils dis- 
tended, the lips compressed, the scowl of the thunder- 
cloud on their brows, the mad muscles quivering to 
begin the battle; we ask, in the light of common 
sense, as well as in the presence of the innocent and 
unmoved Jesus of Nazareth, " Who is it that hath a 
devil?" The battle is on, and if only a man, 
deceiver or deceived, he must show some signs of 
human infirmity. He does not. He is neither in- 
timidated or revengeful. He shows no signs of weak- 
ness. Calm and immovable as the everlasting hills, 
which, by His own assertion, are the objective expres- 
sions of His wisdom and creative skill, He confronts 
the mob and continues to give them the words of 
eternal life. 

" Many good works have I shewed you from my 
Father ; for which of those works do ye stone me ?" 

Fall into Line. Ye despisers and haters of Christ 
and of his church, fall into line and let us begin the 
crusade. Bring your weapons if you wish. The 

66 North Carolina Sermons. 

battle is on, and yon can choose your own methods 
in rejecting Jesus and the offer of salvation. Stones, 
fire and sword can still be secured ; or if too cow- 
ardly or indifferent to use them, you can join the 
multitude to mock and bear false witness. Any way ; 
'"come and see." Christ and Christianity invites 
investigation. His works were not done in a corner, 
and the church which He established is like the city 
on the hill that cannot be hidden. 

The manner in which men in all ages have rejected 
Jesus may be expressed by two words, hate and despise. 
The words, sometimes used interchangeably b}^ care- 
less writers and speakers, are not synonymous. The 
first means to dislike greatly, with the desire more 
or less intense to injure the person. It seeks to 
•express itself in abuse, slander, or with weapons to 
hurt or kill. The attitude of the Jews to Christ is a 
forcible illustration. They hated Him with murder- 
ous intentions, and dogged his footsteps to find the 
semblance of an excuse to injure Him or put Him 
to death. To them He was an enemy that must be 
hushed or removed. In their blindness they saw 
nothing good in Him. After heaping all manner of 
indignities on His person and character, they nailed 
Him to the cross. After His resurrection and ascen- 
sion, the fires of hatred burned on, and were trans- 
ferred to His disciples. Saul of Tarsus led the way, 
and his crusade against the Christians, before his 
conversion, forcibly illustrates the deceitfulness of 
sin, and is recorded as an imperishable monu- 
ment to warn us that " there is a way that seemeth 

Stoning Jesus. 67 

right unto man;" a way which, if pursued, leads to 
death. He never forgave himself, and was honest 
enough to leave the melancholy confession, " I was 
exceeding mad, and persecuted the church unto 
death." He hated the Nazarine; hated his disciples, 
and directed all his energies to strangle the church 
in its infancy. After his conversion he suffered in 
return. The same spirit that impelled him, before 
the scales fell from his eyes, to persecute .Jesus in His 
members, followed him unto death. Because he 
preached Jesus and the resurrection, the Jews " went 
about to kill him." Jesus excepted, he was the most 
intensely hated man in the world. Bonds, stripes, 
stones, imprisonment, awaited him until his tumul- 
tuous life ended on the block, from which the storm- 
beaten hero, bearing the scars of a thousand battles, 
took his departure to the home where the Christian 
soldier rests after the conflicts are past. 

The spirit of persecution is not dead. The foul 
and blood-stained demon has learned to change his 
methods and weapons of warfare, but the inevitable 
conflict continues, and will as long as faithful preach- 
ers do their duty, and men and women reprove the 
ungodly by living pure lives. " Cain hated his 
brother because his own deeds were evil, and his 
brother's were righteous." Thousands in all ages, 
inspired by the same wicked spirit and for the same 
cause, have befouled the earth with slander and 
stained it with blood to the present day. Men and 
women are still hated and persecuted for righteous- 
ness sake. Clubs, stones and other deadly weapons 

68 North Carolina Sermons. 

are out of date, not because there is no disposition 
to use them, but because public sentiment would be 
outraged, and jails and penitentiaries are not pleas- 
ant places. The wicked and cunning spirit changes 
its color to suit the conditions of society. 

The whiskey ring, the great Diana of Ariierica and 
elsewhere, would stone Paul, or Jesus, to-day if the 
majesty of the civil law would defend them in the 
deed as it does in the odious traffic that sends mil- 
lions of men to death and hell, and their posterity 
to beggary, the poor-houses, jails and the peniten- 
tiaries. They hate the church, its ministers espe- 
cially, and carry a handy weapon in the tongue 
which, inflamed by hatred, is ever ready to express 
the attitude of the heart in abuse or slander. 

Despise. This is a very common method in ston- 
ing Jesus and His church. His wonderful life, the 
church He came to establish, are too little and insig- 
nificant to notice. The offer of salvation through 
Christ is treated with scorn and contempt. This 
class is numerous. They see nothing in the church 
to excite love or hatred. It is beneath their atten- 
tion. Saul hated, but confessed by his crusade against 
the church that there was no room for indifference. 
Pilate, though an ambitious heathen, was strongly 
impressed that Jesus was neither contemptible nor 
guilty, and against the protest of the Jews wrote on 
the cross: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the 
Jews." To his credit, he did not despise Jesus. 
Herod did. To him, Jesus of Nazareth was a poor, 
contemptible pretender, to be laughed at for His folly. 

Stoning Jesus. 69 

He had no respect for His person, claims or feelings, 
but demanded the exercise of His skill in perform- 
ing tricks to gratify his curiosity. To all his ques- 
tions, Jesus, who, under all circumstances heretofore, 
was ready to answer politely, and instruct even His 
enemies, answered not a word. The contempt was 
mutual, and Herod, with his men of war, set Him 
at naught, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and 
treated His person, claims and trial with supercilious 
scorn. The Word of God gives the alarm and warns 
us that all who despise Him shall be lightly esteemed. 
They who despise His law and the riches of His 
grace, are heaping up wrath against the day of 
wrath and of the righteous judgment to come. Then 
He will despise in return ; laugh at their calamity, 
and mock when their fear cometh. " Fools despise 
wisdom," and must reap the rewards of their folly 
when it is too late. It is safe to assume that thou- 
sands who had every opportunity to witness the mir- 
acles, study the spotless life and investigate the claim 
of the Son of God, were not impressed beyond a pass- 
ing curiosity that vanished when the novelty ceased 
to attract. 

Anyway, the impressions could not have been deep, 
for he made very few disciples. Despisers are nu- 
merous and common in our day. It is a melancholy 
fact that thousands who throng the streets of our 
towns and cities, where churches are convenient, and 
faithful men called of God to preach the gospel of 
Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation, 
despise the services of the church. The ring of the 

70 North Carolina Sermons. 

church bell 'that calls the people to the temple of 
God, where, with prayerful attention they may learn 
the way that leads from hell to heaven, makes no 
more impression on them than the rattle of the cart- 
wheels on the pavement, or the shriek of the engine that 
indicates the arrival of the mail train. New and 
costly churches are erected, new preachers, new 
methods employed to attract the ungodly and win 
their souls ; and for a season the sanctuary is filled, 
and the prospect encouraging, but the sensation soon 
passes away like the morning dew kissed by the sun- 

The despisers are by no means confined to the 
cities. Men are alike everywhere. Within walking 
distance of the average country church, men, women 
and children are found desecrating the Sabbath while 
the weary, faithful preacher delivers his message. 
The prayer and class-meetings, especially are treated 
with indifference, and the Sunday-school can hardly 
command half the children in the community. 

Jesus, by parable, illustrates the manner in which 
this class rejects the offer of salvation. The kingdom 
of heaven is like a certain king who sent his servants 
to invite his neighbors and subjects to the marriage 
of his son, " and they would not come." Others were 
sent, with instructions to say: " Behold, I have pre- 
pared my dinner ; my oxen and fatlings are killed, 
and all things are ready ; come unto the marriage." 
'* But they made light of it and went their ways." 
How much like the present. The King of Heaven 
sends His servants among all conditions of men, 

Stoning Jesus. 71 

to rich and poor, to ignorant and cultured, to the 
crowded cities and into the highways and hedges, to 
proclaim the good tidings: " Come, for all things are 
now ready." The way is open, the feast is free, and 
you are welcome. More, if j^ou stay, you must per- 
ish. To come means pardon, salvation, heaven ; to 
treat with contempt means eternal death. 

Christ the Son, by His one oblation on the cross, 
is the propitiation for our sins, the sin of the whole 
world, and God and the sinner have the right-of-way 
to meet at the cross on terms of reconciliation and 
eternal friendship. Come, ye sinners condemned by 
the law you have broken ; " Come, for all things are 
now ready," 

" But they made light of it." The modern evangelist 
has tried his sensational methods, not in the hedges 
among the poor, but in the cities where crowds can 
be gathered who will pay him for creating an enthu- 
siastic uproar, which, like the waves driven by the 
wild winds, return to their normal condition when 
the storm is over. Preachers are caught in the whirl 
and cry " God speed," until the inevitable reaction, 
when they discover that the best rendered services 
are despised. The last state is worse than the first. 
Heaven help us when hand-shaking in the spirit of 
enthusiasm only is substituted for the new birth 

The Bible. This wonderful book is a revelation 
of Jesus Christ and His relation to our world as 
creator and redeemer. From 'Genesis to Revelation 
the Holy Scriptures testify of Him. To reject the 
Bible, as a whole or in part, means stoning Jesus. 

72 North Carolina Sermons. 

There is no evasion, It contains His word, records 
His works, and reveals His person. In its subject 
matter it is too high intellectually to have originated 
in the minds of men ; and certainly too good mor- 
rally to have been enterprised by wicked men. 

The first scene in the wonderful drama, shows Him 
in the exercise of His creative power ; suns and sys- 
tems leaping from the womb of eternity to take their 
places in eternal space ; " the heavens that declare 
the glory of God." 

These flashing suns and countless worlds, guided 
by the hand of omnipotent power and infinite wis- 
dom, continue to run on in their appointed orbits, 
their silent testimony in accord with the written 
word ! " The hand that made them is divine." Ye 
despisers and haters of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, 
are ye ready to begin the battle ? We think not. Ye 
are too helpless in the presence of the creative God. 
Last of all He made man, the crowning act of crea- 
tion. On him it was His good pleasure to display 
His greatest skill. His formation called together the 
divitie council, who said : " Let us make man in our 
own image." The likeness and glory were lost by sin. 

" ImmanueH' This is His name on earth. God 
made manifest in the flesh to save the world is the 
crowning expression of His grace. It was great to 
create, but it was greater to redeem ; greater in love, 
labor and suffering, if not in power. Let us follow 
our Immanuel and see what He is doing and suffer- 
ing. Here is a poor beggar by the wayside, so far as 
human aid is concerned, hopelessly blind. No man 

Stoning Jesus. 73 

who can see can estimate the loss. Humiliated and 
helpless, he opens his palm when he hears the tramp of 
human feet with the piteous cry, "I am blind !" Jesus 
of Nazareth is passing by. It may be his last chance, 
and the multitude are startled by the cry of hope, 
*' Lord, thou son of David, have mercy on me ! " 
He hopes that Jesus will open his eyes. Deaf to the 
reproof of the disciples, he repeats the prayer with 
increased energy, and strains his sightless eyes in 
hope, until, in His mercy, as well as in evidence of 
His divine right and power, Jesus opens his eyes 
and sends him on his way rejoicing. Let us go to 
Bethesda. Among the many waiting with hope 
deferred that maketh the heart sick for the moving 
of the waters, Jesus is speaking to a man who for 
thirty-eight years has been a hopeless paralytic. 
To the question, " Wilt thou be made whole ? " he 
answers in despondent accents, "I have no one to 
help me." It is a sad case, seemingly hopeless and 
fersaken. Help has come at last. His whole frame 
is quivering under the influence of an unseen energy. 
The rainbow of hope is kindled in his eyes. 

The shrunken muscles are rounding, the dead limbs 
throbbing in response to the blood dancing once 
more through its long deserted channels! "The 
lame walk," is a tame expression to describe the glad 
man, restored to health, gathering up his bed and 
leaping like elastic youth to spread the glad tidings 
to others. Who will cast the first stone ? Attention ! 
In appearance and condition here is the most 
wretched case we have found. From the crown of 

74 North Carolina Sermons. 

his head to the soles of his feet there is no sound- 
ness. He is so loathsome, and his disease so danger- 
ous, that the law has ostracised him and left him 
alone in his wretchedness. "He is a leper," who, in 
hope and fear, falls at the feet of Jesus with the cry 
for help: "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me 
clean." Wonderful change! The scabby leprosy is 
gone at the bidding of the Great Physician, and 
leaves no mark on its deserted victim. 

To the mansion of the dead ! Surely if the dead 
are raised up his enemies will surrender. Four days 
ago Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, fol- 
lowed him in the funeral march, and as they thought 
kissed him for the last time until they should meet 
at the gates of the city. Oftener than to any other 
place Jesus had directed His weary steps to the 
pleasant home at Bethany. No wonder, for they 
loved Him devotedly. His friend Lazarus had died 
while He was off on duty. The sisters sent Him 
word that their brother was sick, but He did not 
come. They were hurt, and said: "If Jesus had 
been here our brother would not have died." They 
told Him so when He came four days after. He 
said, "I am the resurrection and the life." I know 
he is dead, but I am going to raise him up. I am 
here for that purpose. The crowd had gathered, and 
while He prays the tear-drops hang like pearls on 
his quivering eye-lids. 

'' Jesus Wept" He is a man, but says : "Take ye 
away the stone." The whole scene is growing pro- 
foundly impressive. What is He going to do? With 

Stoning Jesus. 75 

a loud voice, He cries: "Lazarus, come forth." 
Heaven and earth bear witness, can the dead hear 
His voice? Will death surrender its prey to the 
Nazarene ? See, the dead scribe is moving. His eyes 
are open. His hollow cheeks, a few moments ago 
cold and pale as the marble slab, are rounding out, 
and the life-blood throbbing through his veins paints 
on them the hue of health. He is alive. There is 
no room for doubt. Jesus says, " Loose him and let 
him go." He and his sisters are locked in each 
others arms. Jesus looks on His work, an object- 
lesson to teach them that all who are in their graves 
shall hear his voice and come forth. 

" On to the Cross " We go now to study His suffer- 
ings. The wolves have Him at last. From the time 
He lay on the bosom of Mary — the child born, " the 
son given," as predicted by the royal prophet and 
others, the angles singing His birth song, the wise 
men and shepherds presenting their costly gifts as 
well as the adoration of their hearts — the wolf of 
hell, with his furious pack, had been on His track, 
and at last the Good Shepherd surrenders, all man- 
gled and torn, and shrieking in the agonies of death. 
Hatred has reached its limit, it can do no more to 
His person or character. His humiliation and suf- 
ferings are complete. He is dying as a criminal, con- 
demned by His own people, on a Roman cross. This 
is sacrificial work — is the crowuing act in the plan 
of redemption. 

" O Lamb of God, was ever pain, 
Was ever love like thine ! " 

76 North Carolina Sermons. 

Ye sinners, haters and despisers of Jesus, His law 
and His gospel, depend on it here is your only chance 
for salvation and heaven. Reject Him if you will, 
stone Him on the cross, wag your heads in mockery, 
drive the biting steel through His bleeding heart as 
well as through His hands and feet, and laugh at 
His gory temples torn by the piercing thorns, but 
remember, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, is dying 
for you ! Before you cast the first stone and reject 
Him forever, remember what He is to you. He is the 
light of the world, which, if quenched, outer dark- 
ness begins. He is Lord of Lords and King of 
Kings, able to save or destroy to the uttermost. As 
King He must reign until He puts all His enemies 
under His feet. In His hands are the issues of life 
and of death. To Him every knee shall bow and every 
tongue confess. It is infinitely wiser to bow at the 
cross where mercy is sought and pardon is found, 
than to bow in hell amid the shrieking horrors of 
eternal death. " The wicked shall be turned into 
hell, and all the nations that forget God." 

From the cross they took Him to the tomb, but it 
could not hold Him. In three days He came out the 
conqueror of death, flushed with victory and ready 
for additional conquests. From heaven, where He 
ascended to His Father, He will come again to judge 
the world in righteousness. The throne of mercy will 
have changed into " the great white throne," from 
which the thunderbolts of wrath shall be hurled 
against all ungodliness and wicked men. 

At Thy Word. 77 

" Down to hell, there's no redemption, 

Every Christless soul must go." 
" Sinners turn, why will ye die? 

God, your Saviour, asks you why. 
God the Father, God the Spirit, join tlie earnest cry, 

Why will ye curse your Lord and die?" 

The church below, with all its agencies, warns and 
beseeches you to lay down your weapons at the 
cross, and wash your sins in the blood. No longer 
dare delay. The golden moments are passing by 
freighted with infinite values, which, if improved, 
leads to glory and to God. Let no one take your 
crown. Repent of your sins, tell Jesus that you 
are sorry that you have ever stoned Him. Join 
in the army of the Lord, quit your sins, watch 
and pray, read the scriptures, attend the church 
and sing with them, " The crowning day is coming 
by and by." Life is too short, and heaven is too val- 
uable to admit of indecision for a moment, to say 
nothing of hating and despising the Lord and His 
church. When you belittle Christ, you despise your 
own soul. You cannot despise Jesus without despis- 
ing yourself, your life, your happiness and heaven. 


By Rev. W. S. RoNE, 

Of the North Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S.). 

"And Simon answering said unto Him, Master we have toiled all the 
night and have taken nothing: nevei'theless at thy word I will let down 
the net." Luke v: 5. 

What a sublime act is that of simple unquestion- 
ing obedience to the word of God, especially when- 

78 North Carolina Sermons. 

that word is unsupported by, and seemingly con- 
trary to, the lessons of reason and experience. The 
Master had come to the disciples on the lake-side in 
the morning, just at the time when, wearied and 
disheartened at fishing all the night and taking noth- 
ing, they had withdrawn their nets from the water 
and were washing them. After speaking to the peo- 
ple, he said to Peter "Launch out into the deep and 
let down your nets for a draught." The night was 
the time for fishing on the Sea of Galilee, for, with 
the clear water of the lake, and the bright rays of 
the sunlight, the fish could easily see and avoid the 
meshes of the net by day. It was not reasonable to 
suppose that they could catch fish now, by daylight, 
when they had failed to do so after fishing all the 
night. But Peter recognized the voice that spake to 
him as above all his reasoning and discouraging 
experience of the night, and he said, "Nevertheless 
at thy word I will let down the net." 

At thy word. What a point from which to pro- 
ceed ! What an authority on which to act! He let 
down the net, and, in doing this, performed one of 
the sublimest acts on record. Though the simple 
act of an humble fisherman in lowly life, it was an 
act of faith and obedience, done at the word of 
God, that put him into line with the forces and 
marching of the ages. All else in the universe moves 
at the word of God except fallen men and fallen 
angels, and we come into the mighty procession only 
when we have learned to be perfectly obedient to 
the word of the Lord. "At Thy Word " is the high- 

At Thy Word. 79 

est possible wisdom, and it ought to be the supreme 
thought of all Christians to know what the word 
of God is, and be directed by it in everything, in all 
that we sa}'' and do — in the week-day and on the 
Sabbath ; in the church and in the world ; in our 
spiritual beliefs and secular acts — at thy word. 

" At thy word' I will let down the net." The term 
net may here apply to whatever instrumentalities 
of good God may command us to use, or let down, 
or throw out. We are fishing in the sea of life, 
and we are frequently very much discouraged and 
disappointed and downcast, and feel like it is no 
use to go further, or try longer. But whenever 
there is a clear duty laid on us, a plain "Thus saith 
the Lord," whether we can see the way before us or 
not, our response should ever be like that of Peter, 
" Nevertheless at thy. word I will let down the net." 

I. In the first place, we should, at the word of 
the Lord, let down the net m the ivaters of business- 
life, of honest industry and effort for the things of 
this hfe. Many a man, amidst the financial dark- 
ness that has lasted so long, especially in our rural 
life, that is now so deep and so slow to break away, 
is at the point of giving up his work and running 
away from his business. Many an individual, many 
a business enterprise useful, and ordinarily profita- 
ble, is on the verge of abandonment. Many a hand 
is holding loosely and despairingly the plane and 
the plow-handle and the lever because of the deep 
discouragement — because they " have toiled all the 
night and have taken nothing." Worse than that. 

80 North Carolina Sermons. 

there are those in the midst, or on the verge, of want ; 
out of anything to go on, out of work, out of em- 
ployment, seeking but despairing of finding it, and 
possibly at the point of sitting down and saying " I 
will try no longer." 

And yet there is nothing more clearly and strongly 
commanded, and which we may, therefore, pursue 
with greater faith in the helping hand and provi- 
dence of God, than a needful supply of the things of 
this life. " Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy 
work," is God's word, " Let every man abide in the 
same calling wherein he was called." " Owe no 
man anything; provide things honest in the sight of 
all men." " He that pro^ideth not for his own, and 
especially for those of his own house, he hath denied 
the faith and is worse than an infidel." It is a great 
duty bound upon us by the Word of God to be dili- 
gent in business and daily industry to the end that 
we may provide for our own, and owe no man any- 
thing. It was in this that Peter was engaged at the 
time, and for which the Saviour told him to let down 
his net, for what? For a draught of fishes. To 
what end? That the wants of the body might be 
met. And we may rest assured that God, whose 
word is so strong in regard to this great duty, will, if 
we perform it faithfully, and with faith in Him, pre- 
pare an opening and a way for us, although we can- 
not see it now. 

Peter's reward for letting down his net " at the 
word of the Lord, was that it was immediately filled 
with such a draught of fishes that it began to break.''' 

At Thy Word. , 81 

Aud so we are to go on letting down the net of 
daily business and frugal, diligent industry, whether 
results are satisfactory aud the future very promising 
or not. We know^ not what a day may bring forth^ 
or what the future may have awaiting us. It is true 
that your best endeavors will not of themselves,, 
bring you prosperity, that " except the Lord build 
the house, they labor in vain that build it." But we 
know, also, that God will not forsake His people. 
" Trust in the Lord and do good," He says, " so 
shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt 
be fed." God's word to everyone of you is " quit 
yourselves like men," be strong, gird up tlie loins of 
your mind, be sober, stand fast. Throw not away 
your shield ; " cast not away your confidence."^ 
Stand steadily in your rank till the tide of battle 
turns. Do not cease from your efforts, though dis- 
couraged. It is ours to till the soil and sow the seed 
and water the garden-bed and spread the net, and it 
is of God, who makes this our duty, to give the 
increase ; and if we cannot see much in our own 
experience or judgment to encourage to this, it being 
duty, we are to say, like Peter, " Nevertheless at thy 
word I will let down the net." 

And God would have us do this cheerfully and 
bravely, not gloomily and despairingly, that the world 
may see that there is that in the Christian religion 
that can sustain the soul in great financial straits, 
as well as in great spiritual needs. Our Lord does 
not want as His followers cowards who cannot fight 
the common battles of life. How, then, should we 

82 North Carolina Sermons. 

be prepared for that lordly chivalry of service, that 
*' wrestle " with " spiritual wickedness in high places?" 
We are to be heroic examples of the great moral 
virtues of fortitude and endurance amidst difficulties, 
as well as shining patterns of the beautiful spiritual 
graces. Therefore, at the bidding of the Lord, work 
on with mind and heart and will. This may be the 
trial that precedes the day of plenty. At His word 
let down the net once more. He may intend largely 
to bless you when, by trial, you have been prepared 
for the benediction. 

II. In the second place, we must, at the word of 
the Lord, let down the net in the waters of spiritual 
good, of personal deliverance from sin, and securing 
of eternal life. The true Christian life is always a 
life of progress and advancement, of intense longings 
in the first place for a better and a holier state, and 
then of successive steps taken by faith. And yet 
each one of these steps, from the first one that makes 
him a Christian and places his feet within the king- 
dom to the ope that places him high in saintliuess of 
character here, and in glorious exaltation hereafter, 
is a step taken at the word of God. It is a step taken 
'not because we have experienced the way, or have 
been there before, but because God's Word bids us 
take it, to reach out, to " let down the net" of faith, 
to trust Him. 

What but the word of God to the children of 
Israel first induced them to start out of Egypt, and 
then to move seemingly right down into the Red 
Sea," and then right down against the waters of the 

At Thy Word. 83 

Jordan when overflowing its banks, and then again 
right into the hostile land of Canaan. They did not 
see the wonderful salvation that God had provided 
just ahead of them, and it was contrary to all reason 
and all experience that there could be such. But 
"at His word" they went forward, and the sea 
opened, and the Jordan divided, and the walled 
cities of their enemies were thrown down. And so 
God has wrought salvation and deliverance for mil- 
lions of His people when they have moved against 
difficulties at His word. Thus He has provided it 
for us. Perfect emancipation, complete deliverance 
from sin ! Glorious rescue is what He promises. 
" If the Son shall make free, you shall be free in- 
deed." " Come now and let us reason together, 
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white 
as snow, and though they be red like crimson, they 
shall be as wool." And He bids us let down the net 
in these waters. 

What, then, is your peculiar condition in the sight 
of God? Do I address some one who is not a Chris- 
tian, but earnestly desirous of becoming one — who 
has, perhaps, many times come up to the sanctuary 
hoping to obtain salvation from sin, peace of mind 
and rest of soul on the bosom of God, and saying, 
"Oh, that I knew where I might find Him?" I would 
beg you earnestly in His name to wait no longer. 
Let down the net once more; let it down now. His 
word is " Come unto me, all ye that labor and are 
heavy laden and I will give you rest." Say to Him, 
" Lord, Jesus, at thy word I come to thee." 

84 North Carolina Sermons. 

" Just as I am, without one plea, 
But that thy blood was shed for me, 
And that thou bid'st me come to thee, 
Oh Lamb of God, I come, I come." 

Or do you believe yourself to be a Christian, but 
dissatified with your attainment in the divine life? 
Struggling to rise higher, to come nearer to God, to 
be purer and better, to dwell in the bright light of 
His countenance, hungering and thirsting after 
righteousness, your song 

" Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee ? " 

Then do not despair. These are things that be- 
token mighty victory. These are the gifts that God 
is most willing to bestow. " Covet earnestly the best 
gifts," is His word. " Blessed are they which do 
hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall 
be filled." In His name, and at His word, let down 
the net into the water of these promises, and it shall 
be filled full, till you shall be prepared to shine in 
His presence forever and forever. 

IH. But there is a third sense in which, at the 
word of the Lord, we are to let down the net. Peter's 
fishing in this case was not for food or for self only. 
This was the immediate object; but, as Christ's dis- 
ciple, it was t3'^pical of a higher service that he was 
soon to render. With wonder and surprise still 
depicted in their faces at the great draught of fishes 
just taken, he turned to the disciples and said, "Come 
and follow me: henceforth I will make you fishers 
of men." So he says to every one of his disciples 
now. We are to be fishers of men. We are, there- 

At Thy Word. 85 

fore, at the word of the Lord, to let down the net 

for the perishing souls of men out of Christ. This is 
His word. He says, "As every man hath received 
the gift, even so minister the same one to another as 
good stewards of the manifold grace of God." The 
bride, the church, must with myriad tongues unite 
with the Spirit in saying "come." 

The first thing that Andrew did when he had 
found Christ was to seek out and bring his own 
brother, Simon, likewise, and this is the great business, 
the great life-work of believers, the winning of souls, 
the bringing of others to Christ. Everyone is charged 
with a commission and a warrant to seek the con- 
version of his fellows. But for this, the people of 
God, pure in heart and prepared for heaven, would 
be taken home to the better life, there to swell the 
harmony of the heavenly song. But the need is so 
great, the work is so urgent here, that they are kept 
in the world for awhile, where for them "to live is 
Christ." But they must be at the work, and they 
must be at it with the word, Avhich is the great gos- 
pel " net." That is the power of God unto the salva- 
tion of all who believe, whether preached in public 
to the great congregation, or in private in the ear of 
the individual. "The kingdom of heaven is like 
unto a net which a man cast into the sea." 

Are we " letting down " this net faithfully? Are 
there any who can rise up in the judgment and 
accuse you of unfaithfulness to them ? It may be 
there are some of you, who, for long days and nights, 
for weeks and months possibly, and even years, have 

86 North Carolina Sermons. 

prayed and worked and waited for the conversion of 
certain ones, dear children, or loving friends and 
acquaintances, in the fond hope of seeing them com- 
ing home to Christ. But while others have come, 
you have only been disappointed and disappointed, 
until the heart has grown sick and sad, and you feel 
only like saying to the Master, " I have toiled all the 
night and have taken nothing." But as it is His 
command, will you add the remainder and, like 
Peter, say, " Nevertheless at thy word I will let 
down the net." 

There are some who are doing nothing in this 
work, nothing in the church, nothing in the Sabbath- 
school, nothing in their homes, nothing among their 
neighbors. You hear them say sometimes that they 
'' have had their day in the Sabbath-school and 
church work." The inference is that they now feel 
authorized to take it easy. What a thought ! Taking 
it easy in the work of the Lord, when he says " Woe 
to them that are at ease in Zion." Are we not 
ashamed of the case when plainly stated ? Can we 
cease from service when we do not cease from receive- 
ing mercy? Yes, we shall take it easy soon, very 
soon ! There will be rest enough in the grave. "The 
night of death cometh, when no man can work," the 
long dark night of death, when seed can be no longer 
sown or sheaves garnered for the Master's use. " Lo ! 
He cometh." Let us, then, to the work, with a heart 
to do, brave and true, and, in the great " crowning 
day," He will own and reward us as His own. / 

Christ as a Friend. 87 

By Rev. Robert P. Pell, Presbyterian Evangelist. 

"A friend of publicans and sinners." — Matthew xi: 19. 

We are beginning to see more clearly every day 
how the Old Testament finds a complete illustration 
of its contents in the person and work of our Lord, 
This applies not only to His fulfillment of type and 
prophec}', but likewise to the general interpretation 
that His course as Messiah gives to the history of 
Israel. Moreover, it may even be claimed that many 
lines of thought in the didactic portions reach a con- 
crete expression in Him alone. If you will examine, 
for instance, the book of Proverbs, you will discover, 
scattered here and there, certain passages descriptive 
of true friendship, which, when gathered together, 
form a cluster of virtues that are embodied solely in 
the character of Jesus of Nazareth. It would take a 
longer time than we have at our disposal to give u de- 
tailed examination and proof of this statement. There 
are certain traits of the perfect friend, however, that 
are so often lacking in the best human representa- 
tives that we may derive great comfort i]i meditating 
upon those as exhibited in the life of our Saviour. 

I. Solomon asserts that " a friend loveth at all *^' 
times." So it may be said concerning our Lord, that 
He never knew a moment in His earthly career when 
He was unwilling to sacrifice Himself to comply 
with the demands made upon Him by the most 

88 North Carolina Sermons. 

unworthy suppliant. How many of us, on the con- 
trary, can remember occasions when, on account of 
some momentary disinclination, we have hesitated to 
yield our time, possessions or sympathy to meet the 
needs of those endeared to us. It may have been 
caused by some ailment or infirmity of the body, 
some temporary clouding of the mind, or some 
depression of the spirits, for any one of these has 
a tendency to estrange us tor a season, ofttimes 
unjustly, from our most intimate companions. After- 
wards we may have discovered that the fault lay with 
us; but that does not relieve us from the mortifica- 
tion of having been guilty, to some extent, of incon- 
stancy. It is a remarkable fact that not an instance 
of this kind can be found in the life of our Saviour, 
Jesus as a friend is constant. Do you recall that 
charming incident of His dealings with the Samari- 
tan woman at Jacob's well? If we had been suffer- 
ing from the fatigue under which He was laboring 
that day, doubtless we would readily have excused 
ourselves from ministering to her in any way* what- 
ever. Conscious of an exhausted frame, we become 
very lenient toward ourselves when duty calls, and 
neglect those whom we regard as special favorites, 
trusting that tlieir consideration for our enfeebled state 
will le;id them to condone an occasional dereliction. 
But as soon as Jesus read the poor woman's counte- 
nance He analyzed her condition and deciphered 
her history, and instantly all weariness disappeared 
from His body in His eagerness to deliver her from 
the terrible curse that awaited her. He forgot Him- 

Christ as a Friend. 89 

self by being lost in her case. This is the key-note 
to His constancy — His entire and unbroken absorp- 
tion in others. 

Our constancy as friends sometimes encounters 
another hindrance in some outward circumstance. 
No severer test can be brought to bear upon it than 
when we are challenged to brave popular opinion. 
To stand by a condemned friend when every voice, ^ 
save ours, is raised against him — what is this but to 
incur the suspicion that we are likewise partners in 
his offense against the public weal? But notice how 
nobly Jesus did this in the case of ^ACf^'beus! Who ' 
doubts but that the most high-born and prosperous 
of Jericho's citizens, carried away for the nonce by ' 
the enthusiasm of the multitude that pressed to greet 
Him on the road, would have gladly tlirown open ^ 
their mansions for the entertainment of our Lord ? 
Those who are supplied with this world's power, 
position and possessions are ever ready to patronize 
even the noted leader of a religious reform if it will 
only gain for them some moral prestige. But Jesus - 
" came to seek and to save that which was lost." His 
■searching gaze, prompted by the anxious heart that 
never failed to fix itself upon those whom He came 
to befriend, discerned, amid the dust and foliage, the 
inquiring stare of the outcast and despised Zaccheus. 
"Zaccheus, come down; for tliis day must I abide at 
thy house." No scorn or derision of religious or 
social bigot shall make Him turn the cold shoulder 
to that " lost sheep of the house of Israel." If He 
•could surrender the adoration of anorelic hosts to seek 

90 North Carolina Sermons. 

such as Zaccheus, surely He can surrender the fickle 
favor of a mob of men to save him. 

We offer you in Jesus a constant friend. This is 
because His nature is unchangeable. "Jesus Christ 
the same yesterday, to-day and forever." No inward 
or outward forces can avail to affect His attitude 
toward the objects @f His devotion. He is a friend 
" that sticketh closer than a brother." Oh ! how you 
need Him in this ever-shifting scene. Changes are 
continually taking place in our constitution and sur- 
roundings that reveal more and more our helpless-' 
ness. At every turn in life we meet with some new 
experiences that force us to depend upon others. The 
transition from health to sickness, from prosperity to 
want, from life to death, how they throw us willingly 
or unwilling upon the kindly offices of our fellow& 
in suffering! Realizing this, upon whom can we 
lean with assurance of being succored at all times, 
but upon Him "who changeth not." 

" Abide with me ; fast falls the eventide ; 
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide ; 
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, Oh! abide with me. 

" Swift to its close, ebbs out life's little day ; 
Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away ; 
Change and decay in all around I see ; 
Oh! Thou who changest not, abide with me." 

II. The author of the Proverbs tells us in another 
place, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." To 
inflict pain upon others will most likely result in 
bringing it back upon ourselves. However much we 

Christ as a Friend. 91 

may be willing to perform this office (and some are 
only too eager to do it), we are liable to resent it 
when it is visited upon our own persons. Yet a 
judicious discharge of this unpleasant duty is neces- 
sary if you ever expect to be a friend in the noblest 
sense. To refuse to do it when it is for the highest 
good of our fellow-men, is, as a rule, an indication 
that we love ourselves more than our neighbor. 
This difficulty, as much as any other, renders so- 
called friendship an unfruitful thing. 

Now Jesus never hesitated to do this. As a friend 
He is faithful. To be so must at times have been at 
the expense of the generous promptings of His bosom. 
As the humble Syro-phenician woman bowed before 
Him to plead in behalf of her afflicted daughter, 
surely His instant impulse must have been to grant 
her request without further parleying. To hesitate 
for a moment must have caused Him to endure all 
the agony that an appearance of cruelty on the part 
of a heart conscious of its own infinite tenderness 
could inflict. Yet the eternal welfare of this woman 
required instruction as to the right relationship be- 
tween Him as a covenanted Redeemer and herself as 
a Gentile sinner, and in order to enlighten her He 
must for a moment veil His larger intentions. But 
His wounding her was in order to her abundant heal- 
ing — He must be faithful if she were to be saved. 

On another occasion Jesus had to utter mysterious 
and unwelcome doctrines. He was at the very flood- 
tide of His popularity. To all appearances, if He 
only continued to win the hearts of the masses as 

92 North Carolina Sermons. 

He had already done, the whole nation with one 
voice would proclaim His Messiahship. From a 
human standpoint, it was very important for the 
accomplishment of His mission that He should not 
alienate anyone from His standard. But .Jesus must 
be faithful in dealing with the souls of His people. 
To withhold a particle of the revelation God had 
commissioned Him to make might increase the num- 
ber of His followers, but would compass the destruc- 
tion of them all; while to declare boldly every jot 
and tittle of the message entrusted to Him might 
diminish the band of disciples, but would redound 
to their eternal redemption. How could He hesitate 
for a moment? It is left for us to adopt a short- 
sighted as well as a false policy that ends in damna- 
tion to all whom it would embrace; but Jesus Christ, 
building for all time, discloses without moditication 
the truth in its fulness. Having given utterance to 
it, as He anticipated, many deserted Him. And as 
He beheld some recklessly casting away the bread 
and water of life, and others showing a tendency to 
give up the pursuit of the whole counsel of God, in 
broken accents He turned to the twelve and said, 
"Will ye also go away?" Surely that half-sup- 
pressed lamentation gives us a hint of how much in 
this instance His faithfulness must have cost Him. 

Dear reader, if, amid the false lights of this world, 
where a flattering tongue and a lying lip are ever- 
more charged with some ulterior selfish purpose in all 
their smooth and subtle compliments, you feel the need 
of a faithful friend, come to Jesus. He will give you 

Christ as a Friend. 93 

no self-satisfying, and, therefore, no self-destructive, 
view of your condition. With a relentless applica- 
tion of the law, He will uncover all disguises and dis- 
close your exceeding sinfulness ; with an unquench- 
able zealousy for the administration of divine justice, 
He will pronounce against your guilt the severest 
penalties, and with an unerring insight into your 
spiritual constitution He will declare your utter help- 
lessness. He may be gazing upon you with the fond 
but melancholy glance, ^'earning to gather you be- 
neath His covert of righteousness against the evil day, 
with which he lingered over Jerusalem when He 
left her to her doom ; but, as in that case, so in all 
others. He will not flinch from laying bare the sterner 
aspects of God's will. It is only thus that He can 
prepare you to revel in his subsequent disclosures 
of the unsearchable riches of His grace, when He 
unbosoms Himself to you as a Saviour. Never can 
you fathom the depths of His heart — " never can you 
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge " — 
until you know to its fullest extent the pit of sin, 
guilt and helplessness sunk into your own soul. 

HI. Another passage in the book of Proverbs 
descriptive of a friend is very suggestive. " Iron 
sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the counte- 
nance of his friend." When you rub two pieces of 
this metal together the result of such friction is to 
brighten and polish them. So the intercourse of a 
friend with the object of his devotion should be to 
them a source of cheerful and hopeful views of life. 
This chimes in with another passage of similar im- 

94 North Carolina Sermons. 

port: " Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, so 
doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty coun- 
sel." According to these sentiments Job's friends 
missed their calling altogether. No one can question 
their benevolent intentions. They evidently lav- 
ished upon him all their treasures of time and wis- 
dom, endeavoring to lead him to the light. But they 
only casta heavier pall about him. Their descend- 
ants have become more numerous with the lapse of 
ages. How many large-hearted persons to-day flock 
about you, earnestly desiring to be of some practical 
service; but alas! their temperament or their theory 
of life is altogether against it. Those sour-visaged 
friends who are anxious to sacrifice their melancholy 
feelings that the}^ may bring solace to those who 
know not the inexpressible comfort of drinking the 
bitterest dregs of the cup — how easily we could dis- 
pense with their generosity ! Instead of making some 
rift in the cloud they only thicken its folds. 

Now Jesus, as a friend, is always inspiring. Though, 
in the discharge of His office as a faithful friend, He 
might temporarily leave you in darkness, it is only 
that you may be ready to " look to the hills whence 
Cometh your help." He came upon the world of sin- 
ners when it was in its extremity of despair. One 
can easily conceive the wide-spread hopelessness con- 
cerning the betterment of the race and the issues of 
the world to come, that rested like a blighting frost 
upon the people of that day. This dreary outlook 
was not confined to the heathen. Many Jews par- 
took of the same spirit. What else could be expected 

Christ as a Friend. 95 

with a leadership of such a hypocritical character in 
religious matters? Eternity alone will reveal how 
many souls were kept out of the kingdom of God by 
the Pharisees with their exaltation of the works of 
the law as the only means of salvation, with their 
assumption of a sanctimonious air to cover their wolf- 
ish hearts, and with their imposition of burdens upon 
others they would not themselves tolerate. It is easy 
to believe that among the Jews there were some hon- 
est and sincere persons, who, having tried to imitate 
their false leaders, soon realized the emptiness of 
such a course, felt a contempt for their teachings and 
practices, and at last surrendered all expectation of 
doing any better. Who knows but that at some 
period of their past lives many of the so-called publi- 
cans and sinners were respectably religious according 
to the standard of the day, but afterwards, gaining 
no spiritual satisfaction, and finding they had been 
deluded, gave up attempting a life of virtue, and 
abandoned themselves to extravagant indulgence in 
sin. This is not the only age in which there has 
been whited sepulchres filling up the church of the 
living God, and, by their stench in. the nostrils of 
decent men of the world, repelling them from His 
sanctuary and even from His kingdom. To all such 
wearied and despondent souls, who can doubt that 
the words of Jesus came as an inspiration, quicken- 
ing their consciences and reviving their moral pur- 
poses, as He told them of the righteousness that 
comes " by faith and not by works," of the Father 
who desired " mercy rather than sacrifice," of the 

96 North Carolina Sermons. 

" life and immortality brought to light " through 
.His gospel? Perhaps many such were in His audi- 
ence that day when He cried, in tones of entreaty, 
such as could issue only from the Son of Man, " Come 
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and 
I will give you rest." It is a beautiful suggestion of 
a commentator that the scene in the house of Simon 
the Pharisee must have followed this discourse, and 
that the notorious woman who lavished her devotion 
upon Jesus must have obtained her hope of eternal 
life through this message. 

Dear unbeliever, perhaps amid your futile search 
after some solution to your doubts, you are ready to 
sink down into the apathy of a confirmed agnostic- 
Let me plead with you before pursuing such a fatal 
course, to cast yourself unreservedly upon the friend- 
ship of Jesus. He will not mock you by forcing 
upon you legal responsibilites you cannot discharge; 
nor will He discourage you by sending you back to 
fathom all the mysteries of revelation ; nor will He 
degrade you b}^ commanding you to entrust yourself 
blindly to the authoritative dictum of any ecclesias- 
tical body. You remember how He dealt with the 
impotent man at the pool of Bethesda. The poor 
wretch had probably lost the opportunity of being 
healed so often that finally the desire, which had 
been originally keen and vigorous, had become 
deadened, so that Jesus had to quicken it by the 
inspiration of His looks and words. Then instantly, 
the man's eagerness being restored at the command, 
He gave him a fresh infusion of vitality, and his 

Christ as a Friend. 97 

wasted limbs became active once'^more. Oh ! that 
you, too, would listen with all the yearning of a dying 
man to His reviving tones. Says He, " The]!words 
that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are 
life." Close your ears to all the deafening clatter of 
this world's wisdom, whether within or without the 
church, and hang with breathless expectancy upon 
the voice of Jesus. 

" I heard the voice of Jesus say — 
' Behold, I freely give 
The living water; thirsty one 

Stoop down and drink, and live!' 

i came to Jesus, and I drank 

Of that life-giving stream; 
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,. 

And now I live in Him! " 

And now, dear reader, before parting, may this 
thought break upon your conscience with a force 
never felt before : "Christ's friendship for you was 
sealed by the shedding of his blood." Not by some 
slight token, which, however precious, has cost, per- 
haps, the sweat of the brow, but by a gift that wrung 
from Him, as he resolutely set it apart for you, the 
sweat of blood. Our Saviour, measuring the height 
of human self-sacrifice, said: "Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his 
friend." Afterwards the Apostle, rising upon this as 
a base, with a triumphant tone sublimely exclaims : 
"But God commendeth his love towards us in that 
while we were yet sinners {_i. e., enemies] Christ died 
for us." Yes, Christ's friendship for the sinner began 

98 North Carolina Sermons. 

wholly upon His side, and so it continues to be alto- 
gether upon His side, in the majority of cases, even 
until this hour. Are you so rich in possessions for 
the life that now is and in promises for the life that 
is to come that you can afPord to spurn a friendship 
beslowed so freely and sealed so securely? May the 
time never come when He, who now knocks for ad- 
mittance as your friend, because of His rejection at 
your door shall turn to ba your enemy! " But they 
rebelled, and vexed his Holy S()irit; therefore he 
was turned to be their enemy and fought against 
them." Isaiah Ixiii : 10. 

By Rev, Joshua Brockett, D. D., 

Of the A. M. Church, and Professor in Colored State Normal School at 
Warrenton, N. C. 

" And all things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by 
•Christ Jesus."— II CoR. v: 18. 

Man through sin wandered away from and lost 
the true knowledge of God. He could not, because 
of sin, approach — and it was equally impossible for 
God in His supreme divinity to draw near to man 
without destroying him with the brightness of divine 
glory. The whole mental and spiritual organism of 
man was deranged by sin. His temperament was 
distorted and warped. His sympathies were void of 
life. Upon his affections rested the blight of death. 
Man hated life and sought death's shade because his 

The Atonement. 99 

deeds were evil. Being no longer controlled by the 
nobler powers of the soul, he became the abject slave 
of carnal sense — nature's sinful passions reigned 
supreme. The brightness of the Creator's presence 
that attended man's sinless state could be no longer 
seen, but instead the cold, cheerless shadows of 
death's rayless night crept on apace. Dense igno- 
rance like a pall enveloped the mind, superstition 
mystified the soul. 

Man — lost, guilty, wretched being — soul and spirit, 
was enwrapt in the winding-sheet of death! The 
loving Father called to him, bidding him, "Man 
turn from sin and live." In numberless ways he 
tried to win him back, but man closed his ears to 
the call, refused to heed. Divine councils were dis- 
regarded; infinite love was scorned; messages were 
spurned; messengers were stoned and put to death. 
Deep upon deep of hell's awful state awaited the 
soul's swift approach. Fiend and demon wrought 
what seemed to be the eternal destruction of human- 
ity. The burden of prophecy was stilled; the church 
of the prophets, so far as its real work was concerned, 
had reached its end. A cloud of sinful gloom over- 
shadowed the earth, and dark despair sat in black- 
ness throned within the human soul. Hope, in ter- 
ror, fled to its refuge in the bosom of God, while 
dark forebodings, like vultures with heavy wings, 
hovered o'er the dreary wastes of the damned. 

Then it was when the world became a pit of degra- 
dation; and man like the foul beast of the grave, 
skulked amid the ruin and desolation of his own. 

100 North Caeolixa Sermons. 

like a shaft of holy fire lighting for a brief space the 
gloom. The voice of the herald of Jordan startled 
the lethargic ears of the Judeau world with the 
trumpet command, "Repent ye, for the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand." Svriftly follovring which came 
the declaration that one mightier than he should 
cc'me to take away the sin of the world. 

The fullness of time was come. The Lord Jesus 
appeared as Jehovah God manifested in the flesh. He 
came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; He 
came to bring life ar.d immortality to man by the 
light of His life — the Gospel. He assumed our 
nature with all its imperfections and liability to 
temptation. He was exposed to every form of satauic 
cunning and scheme. All the enemies of humanity 
and every variety of sin marshalled their malignant 
forces against Him. Because God in His assumed 
humanity conquered all the enemies of mankind, 
we sing, " Jesus paid it all." Or paid the debt and 
made me free. 

But just here permit me to say, Christ did not 
come to pay a debt, but to conquer man's enemies. He 
came to conquer death, to subdue the power of the 
grave, not to suffer the wrath of the Father. He came 
to fulfill every part of the law, not to suffer the pen- 
alty of its violation. This could not be done with- 
out the assumption of our nature. Hence the neces- 
sitv of the Incarnation. As God could not draw 
near to man in his (man's) simple *tate, and man 
could not draw nearer to God, it was necessarv that 

The Atovemkvt. 101 

there should be an atonement an i a 12^5:-. tor that 
man might be saved. 

The primary meaning of the word atonement, as 
one can readily see by its division, is at-one-Taent, 
to be reconciled or in agreement with (jod. In that 
agreement lies the condition of man's salvation. 
Thns by Christ's perfect work for man. by which the 
violated law was fulfilled. He did not make a penal 
sacrifice to appease the alleged wrath of God, to sat- 
isfy divine jastice, or to purchase God's favor for 

Of what, therefore, iiies the it.neriient properly 
consist ? 

The first act of God in the work :: i.t:r.e:ne:it ~as 
the assumption of our human natire — the n-'-iifea- 
taiion of Himself to the world ::t a :ti te::..- .: ;-iy 
like our own. God assumed t?_e ::r:i:t nature of 
man in the fullest, broadest at- 1 tt- -j: Een?- :f the 
term. He was. as a man. teitittr : ij. ill "is. 7et 
He sinned not. The eife^zt o: tr s'n He bore. The 
anguish attendant upon human sorrow He endured, 
hungering as we hunger, weeping ss we weep — 
amazing paradox of heaven! Positively human, 
absolutely divine. 

Thus, in holy but solemn ecstacy sing- the r-:et: 

•' Toe Son of God ia tears the woaderln^ sii^rls 5^—. 
Be then astonisbed, O. vaj soul. 
He shed those tears for thee." 

The sun rose and set upon His daily labor of lov- 
ing beneficence. His compassion sprang to the 
rescue of the fallen. 


102 North Carolina Sermons. 

As a cleansing font His virtue healed the sick ; His 
omnipotence bade the lame walk, the blind eye to 
behold the myriad and varicolored beauties of earth 
and sky, and worship their Maker; by command 
thrilling the souls of the deaf with unutterable joy, 
as all God's feathered orchestra on hill and in valley, 
for the first time, poured forth their carols of praise, 
anthems of joy through ear, heart and soul. 

His creative power revoked the dread decree of 
death, vetoed the stern law of the grave — matchless 
before heaven's hosts, appalling to hell's spirits, He 
stood at the grave where lay His friend. Like a 
trumpet, shaking Death on his sable throne, rolling 
along the corridors, penetrating the galleries and 
searching tlie archives of the dead went His voice 
in command, bidding the spirit return and the body 
come for^th. 

Down from its exalted state, back from the emer- 
ald shores of paradise, in obedience to the command 
of its Lord, came the soul of the dead to be once 
again environed by the thrall of finitude. 

Again : In His work of atonement hell witnessed, 
and only heaven and Himself knows, the gloomy 
horrors attendant upon the forty da3's fast in the 
Judean desert. The midnight dews fell upon His 
locks, and the winds of heaven caressed His brow 
as He prayed on Olivet. Angel and demon stood 
aghast at the sight of praying and bleeding agony 
in Gethsemane's lonely vale. He who sat in glory 
throned in the first eternity and spake the world 
into existence, framing laws past human ken for its 

The Atonement. 103 

control, there presents the fearful sight of the weep- 
ing suppliant pleading for human sympathy. 

On that struggle between light and darkness 
depended man's eternal destiny. Turning from his 
wearied and slumbering disciples, once again he girt 
up his soul for the final struggle. About Him the 
night winds were stilled, as though Nature held its 
breath in suspense doubtful of the issue between the 
contending powers. Above his head a starless sky 
bent its black vault in fearful concave. Affrighted 
fowls sought distant retreats. The scene was all dark, 
save the angry light of the lightning's flash, which 
ever and anon, like a red rapier, cut ragged paths 
across the black canopy on high. The boomin'g of 
distant thunder broke the silence and rolled along 
the crests of Bashan's hills until hushed by its own 
majestic lullaby. Amid such surroundings your 
Saviour prostrated Himself, while the groans result- 
nt from that awful struggle burst from His bosom 
and echoed through the lonely vale, until carnal 
power in Him gave up the struggle and cried aloud, 
" Not my will, but thine be done." That night 
heaven rejoiced. The angel of mercy threw wide the 
gates of redemption. Disguises longer rendered use- 
less, in a whirlwind of hell-fury Satan descend to 
quaking hosts and a tottering throne. Therein lay 
humanity's atonement and redemption through the 
overcoming, by His humanity, of all the temptations 
to which it was exposed, by subduing in it every lust 
and evil passion. 

104 NoETH Carolina Sermons. 

Again, by that perfect work,Clirist lifted His, and 
with His our humanity from its state of degradation 
into a progressive conjunction with the divine nature 
of the Father. 

The last of the Saviour's temptations was in the 
passion of Gethsemane. While between the confines 
of life and death, His last love-ofFering for man was 
the gift of His humanity on the world's sacrificial 
altar — Calvary. His final victory was His resurrec- 
tion from the dead. Sin begets and is death's parent. 
Death makes possible hell. Hence, by His subjuga- 
tion of sin death was deprived of its sting or power 
over humanity. 

Tlius His humanity was eternally glorified, and 
all humanity was lifted whence it had fallen — the 
human was as one with the divine. Again it became 
possible for God to sway the human will by the 
divine, to restore distorted temperaments to their 
original state, and to cleanse the affections from the 
pollution of carnal senses. 

United in the prosecution of their work is the 
loving divinity of the Father and the untiring devo- 
tion of the Son. 

Arising from tliis conjunction of Father and Son 
is the Holy Spirit, who shall forever abide with us 
in the right, instructing and leading us into bound- 
less fields of heavenly wisdom. Into this blessed 
state all the millions of earth may come and be at 
peace with God through the atonement of the Son. 
Here no frowning Sinai with forbidding heights im- 
pedes our path — no thunders of exacting justice bel- 
low to affright the ransomed soul. Deep, lasting, 

On the Nature of Faith. 105 

unending peace abides, a benediction over all. Per- 
fect joy accompanies the Christian thenceforward, 
and, as they one by one approach life's end, death's 
shadows resolve themselves into fleeting vapors. 
And the matchless love displayed in the atonement 
completes itself in glory upon glory, splendor upon 
splendor, and majesty upon majesty of the perfected 
at-one-ment of redeemed and Redeemer in the un- 
clouded realm of light in the great beyond. 

By Rev. J. E. Bristowe, 

Of the North Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S.). 

" And the apostles said unto the Lord, increase our faith. 

"And the Lord said, if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye 
might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, 
and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you." — Luke 
xvii : 5, 6. 

Perhaps no word in Christian theology, and in all 
religious books, finds a place so prominent as this lit- 
tle word faith. In conversation on the great ques- 
tion of personal salvation, for ages this word faith 
has been used to express the condition of our reach- 
ing heaven. It is the keystone which binds the 
arch that bridges the chasm opened by sin between 
God and the sinner. To my mind, its true nature 
is not understood by many who use it in answer to 
the question, " What must I do to be saved?" 

If none can be saved wilhout faith, it is important 
that, if possible, it should be so clearl}^ defined that 
every soul, to be saved by it, should understand it. 

106 North Carolina Sermons. 

In hope of throwing some light on this all-impor- 
tant question I feel called upon to cast in my mite^ 
in the name of my Redeemer and Deliverer. 

Jesus our Lord was and still is unwilling that any 
who come to Him for information should go away 
ignorant of the nature of spiritual growth and the 
laws which govern it, hence He opens the way to make 
room for the lesson by saying, "Take heed to your- 
selves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke 
him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he tres- 
pass against thee seven times in a day, and seven 
times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; 
thou shalt forgive him." Notice here that uninten- 
tional trespass is sanctified. Some one has expressed 
in these lines a great truth that should be remem- 
bered : 

"Time to me this truth hath taught, 
'Tis a truth that's worth revealing, 
That more offend for want of thought 
Than from any want of feeling." 

The disciple?, no doubt, had an idea that under cer- 
tain conditions they ought to forgive an offence, but 
here Jesus enjoins it to an extent unheard of before^ 
and it staggered their faith as they thought, and they 
said unto the Lord, " increase our faith." 

Let us notice, then, carefully — 

First. The apostles' prayer. 

Second. The Lord's answer; and. 

Third. Draw some inferences which may be of ser- 
vice to us all. 

On the Nature op Faith. 107 

The prayer : ^^ Increase our faith." 

We are perhaps too ready to believe the apostles 
above mistake, and never question the propriety of 
anything they did (Judas excepted). They had a 
false view of Messiah and His kingdom, which laid 
the foundation out of which grew a multitude of 
errors. Here, in their prayer, they showed an 
erroneous conception of faith. They regarded faith 
as a necessary power, in the sense of money deposited 
in bank to their credit, which could be drawn out at 
pleasure to meet the emergencies of life. 

To illustrate the idea: I have ten millions of dol- 
lars on deposit in some solvent bank subject to my 
order. I feel that I can run jui extensive business, 
but if I have no surplus money I I'eel that my ability 
to do business is narrowly limited. This was their 
error. It may be ours. They had not as yet fully 
understood the real nature of saving faith. How 
many thousands of Christians to-day are laboring 
under the same mistake? How many are ready to 
say, if I had as much faith as Abraham, then I 
would do the works of Abraham ; or had I as much 
faith as Moses and Joshua, I would lead the church 
out of the wilderness, storm Jericho with a shout and 
put an end to all wickedness. Jesus saw their mis- 
take and endeavored to correct it without discount- 
ing their devotion to right. In His answer to their 
prayer, the most lucid and luminous definition and 
application is given perhaps to be found anywhere in 
the whole Bible, with an illustration to impress it, 
which is the next thing to consider. 

108 North Carolina Sermons. 

"If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye 
might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked 
up by the root, and be thou j)lanted in the sea; and 
it should obey you." If ye had faith as a grain of 
mustard seed : Notice, no reference is here made to 
the insignificance or littleness of the seed, but to its 
nature. In it is the life principle, a germ of prog- 
ress when submitted to certain conditions. For in- 
stance, at the proper season put it in the moist earth, 
and under the genial influence of the sun the hard 
case becomes soft and opens, the life principle be- 
comes active, progress begins, and from this smallest 
of seeds comes the greatest of herbs. Thus, by co- 
operation with God in Nature an apparent impossi- 
bility becomes a glorious reality. Place this won- 
derful seed upon the tin-roof and leave it there, and 
it is only a question of time when the life principle is 
gone and gone forever. The sun is the savor of life 
unto life, or death unto death. Everything depends 
upon meeting all the conditions. 

Now, then, faith of the same nature, containing 
the life principle, submitted to the field of action, 
under the mellowing rays of the sun of righteous- 
ness progress in divine life begins. Idols fall and 
are broken, and many wonderful results, otherwise 
impossible, are accomplished. 

If we had this faith we might say to this sycamine 
tree of sin in every form, to these doubts and fears 
that so often trouble us, "Be thou plucked up, root 
and all, and be thou planted in the sea," and it would 
obey us. 

On the Nature of Faith. 109 

This is a proverbial saying used in several instances 
in the Bible to denote things very difficult to be 
done, or apparently impossible. But from the fact that 
we know that seeds will germinate, we would be about 
as ready to doubt the possibility of the one as the 
other, and would call either a miracle. 

From these facts we draw the following conclu- 
sions : 

1. That faith is a living, active principle, joined 
together with works by God himself, and although 
almost every man, living or dead, has exhausted 
his strength and skill to secure their divorce, yet 
failure has crowned his every effort. They were 
born together ; they live together ; die together — are 
buried in the same grave and one slab marks their 
last resting-place. Faith and works sustain the same 
relation to each other as the body and spirit, so far 
as this world is concerned. 

2. We learn that our necessity is not so much a 
want of faith, as a disposition or will to use what 
we have already. It is in the use of means that 
gain is made. Faith, like money, can be of no ser- 
vice (substantially) unless used. 

3. Whosoever believeth that there is a God, and 
that He is a rewarder of all who diligently seek 
Him, whether in the church or out of the churchy 
converted or unconverted, has faith enough to start 
with. If he will begin now to use it as God directs, 
and continue to use it all through life, it will take 
him safe to heaven. Like any other infant it will 
grow and develop only by exercise. 

110 North Carolina Sermons. 

God will not burden us with a useless supply. We 
have more than we use now, and all that we 
need. More could be of no service until we have 
used the supply already on hand. "To him that 
hath shall be given," etc. Take a lighted lantern 
out into the darkness (as we have the Bible in this 
dark world). Its light disperses the darkness on 
every side for a distance of ten to twenty feet, so that 
we may discover the way and any danger and shun 
it as easily and as effectually as in day-light (so the 
Bible is a lamp lighted by the spirit disclosing all 
the dangers lying close at hand and points out the 
wa}' of escape to every honest inquirer). The lamp 
reveals any beauty that may chance to smile within 
its compass, and thus breaks the monotony of things 
and imparts the needed inspiration and courage to 
the weary traveler. (So God's word reveals the beau- 
ties of holiness, and an occasional glimpse of the 
heavenly city, and the joys of the Redeemer.) But 
if we do not take hold of the lantern and move, the 
hideous disclosures, as well as the beauties, soon 
lose their power to affect us in any way, either to 
frighten or inspire. The same is true of the Bible 
reader unless he moves forward with the light. 
There are mysteries in the dark that never can be 
solved but in the light. To bring the light to bear 
upon them, it must be carried to them. Move for- 
ward and the mysteries will solve themselves. Only 
those things are mysterious to us of which we are 
ignorant. We solve the mystery of the germination 
of seeds in God's way. The wonders of faith can be 

On the Nature op Faith. Ill 

solved in no other. " Whatsoever a man soweth, 
that shall he also reap." The same in kind, with 

Reader, are you sowing in faith, walking in its 
light every day, in your home, in your business ; are 
you living as seeing Him who is invisible? Sowing 
in time seeds of active faith which will produce fruits 
of eternal life?. What we do must be done quickly. 
If we have already wasted much time, so much 
greater the necessity to begin this moment and per- 
severe unto the end. how sad the state of him 
who has been idle for eleven hours of the day, only 
one hour left in which to do the work of twelve ! 

Thank God, sinner, you need not despair; you 
may yet, by God's help, make sure your peace, call- 
ing and election. Jesus invites you now, the eleventh 
hour. Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, 
neither stay thou in all the plains. The last hour is 
passing. Soon it will be said, "Let him alone," or 
" Come ye blessed of my father." 

Now, sinner, what will you do? Decide at once. 
Will you begin now to use all the light that God has 
so graciously given, or will you decide to wait until 
a more convenient season, and thus suffer yourself 
to be deceived, as in the past, until the last opportu- 
nity is forever gone. Decide now. 

" Nay, but I yield, I yield, 
I can hold out no more. 
I sink by dying love compelled 
And own thee conqueror." 

112 North Carolina Sermons. 

And pray with all thy heart. 

" Help me to watch and pray 
And on thyself rely, 
Assured if I my trust betray 
I shall forever die." 

May we thus, in God's own way, increase our faith 
as we have need. 



By Rev. Solomon Pool, D. D. , 

Of the North Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S.). 

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God."— II Timothy iii: 18. 

If the text is true, the Scriptures are divinely in- 
spired ; if the Scriptures are divinely inspired, the 
text is true. The standard authors offer many con- 
vincing proofs of the truth that the Bible is inspired 
of God, and the most cultivated and enlightened of 
our race have accepted this truth ; it therefore remains 
for its opponents to disprove it. This they have 
never done, and can never do. If the text be untrue, 
then there has been, and still is, practiced upon the 
world a prodigious fraud ; and that upon the most 
astute and profound intellects of our race. Our 
fathers and mothers have died hugging this great 
delusion to their bosoms. If the Bible be a cunningly 
devised fable, then bad men and devils have occa- 
sion for joy; and good men and angels for sorrow. 

The Divine Inspiration, etc. 113 

But if the Bible be true, then we have here the most 
momentous fact in the universe. The Bible is either 
prodigiously true or prodigiously false. 

The Bible makes short work with the atheist; it 
simply pronounces him a fool in his iieart, and passes 
on. The text is a re[>ly to the deist, the man who 
admits tlie divine existence, but discredits the divine 
revelation. He accepts the light of Nature, but 
rejects the light of Scripture. He presents the para- 
dox of being the most credulous, and, at the same 
time, the most incredulous of men. He believes 
what is unproved and unreasonable, and disbelieves 
what is proved and reasonable. It is most reasonable 
that God should give rational man a direct revela- 
tion; it is most unreasonable that He should not. 
That he has actually done so has been proved satis- 
factorily, and is admitted by the wisest and best of 
men. It is acce{)ted as a fact throughout enlightened 
Christendom, and yet here and there an infidel lifts 
his unholy head and dissents. He will attempt to 
argue that Christianity is a falsehood, and, on the 
same sheet, will date his production anno Domini 
1892. He rejects the Christian theology, while he 
accepts the Christian clironometry. 

The suggestion has been well made by some one 
that the Bible must have been the work of the devil, or 
of man, or of God. And it is true it must have had 
its origin in hell, or on earth, or in heaven. If not 
in the first, nor the second, then in the third. If Satan 
did not inspire it, nor bad men, nor good men, then 
it must have been God-given, heaven-sent, divine. 

114 North Carolina Sermons. 

I. It did not originate with Satan. 

Would the arch enemy of God and man ever have 
been disposed to give to the world a religion so benev- 
olent and pure? Would he ever have set before us 
such a perfect code of morals? Would he ever have 
attached such hopes to virtue, and such threats to 
vice ? With all his fiendish malice and hatred for 
God would he ever have set before us such lofty 
descriptions of the divine nature? Would he ever 
have invested heaven with such glorious attractions, 
and painted hell, his own abode, with such awful 
horrors, and thundered against himself such equita- 
ble denunciations? 

In the Scriptures he is represented as the adver- 
sary of God and man. Would he have so repre- 
sented himself? Says the Bible, "He that com- 
mitteth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from 
the beginning." Would he thus have spoken of 
himself? Says the Bible, " Put on the whole armor 
•of God, that ye may be able to stand against the 
wiles of the devil." " Resist the devil and he will 
flee from you." "The God of peac^ shall bruise 
Satan under your feet." " He laid hold on the dragon, 
that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and 
bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the 
bottomless pit." A man must be supremely credulous 
who can believe the Bible to be Satan-inspired. 

Says the text, "All Scripture is given by inspira- 
tion of God ; " and says Peter, " Holy men of old 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." So 
the Bible seems to be the special production of the 

The Divine Inspiration, etc. 115 

Holy Ghost, the third person in the God-head. He 
who attributes this work to Satan, therefore, may be 
in danger of that unpardonable sin, which has no 
forgiveness, either in this world, or in the world to 
come. Who dare to be so insane as to believe, or so 
blasphemous as to assert, that the Bible is of Satanic 
origin ? 

II. It did not originate tvith Man. 

If the Bible is not the production of Satan, then 
it must be the work either of man or of God. If it 
had its origin with man, then it must be the work 
either of bad men, or of good men. 

1. Is the Bible the production of bad men? Would 
bad men have presented to the world and have pro- 
mulgated a code of morals so sublime, a system of 
ethics so perfect? Would they have so extolled the 
virtues, and denounced 'the vices of men ? Would 
bad men ever have framed the decalogue, and incul- 
cated love to God, and love to man, and set forth 
the pure and holy principles of the gospel? Would 
they have inspired, and given the world a book 
whose every page passes condemnation upon them- 
selves? Says Moses, "Everyman shall be put to 
death for his sins." Says Solomon, " Righteousness 
exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any peo- 
ple." Says David, " Blessed is the man that walketh 
not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in 
the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the 
scornful." Says Paul, "The wages of sin is death." 
Says John, " He that committeth sin is of the devil." 
Says the Psalmist, " The wicked shall be turned into 

116 North Carolina Sermons. 

hell, and all the nations that forget God." And 
again, " Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, 
and brimstone, and an horrible tempest." Would 
bad men have devised a fable, and have given it to 
the world, which pronounces such curses upon them- 
selves ? 

It may be said that bad men would have written 
the Bible, if thereby the results could be beneficial 
to themselves. But no such results were probable. 
On the contrary, they saw before them only persecu- 
tion, torture and death. The Bible was evidently 
not produced by men who disbelieved its declara- 
tions. Men will often labor earnestly to induce oth- 
ers to agree with them in opinion, but do they labor, 
and even sufl^er, to induce men to diff"er from them 
in opinion ? If the Bible be a human production, 
it is certainly unreasonable to suppose that it was 
the work of unbelievers. Indeed, it has always been 
infidels who would overthrow the Scriptures. It has 
been believers who have promulgated them. 

No, bad men would never have given the Bible to 
the world, and especially at the cost of their lives. 
A bad man is an opponent of sacred truth, not its 
advocate. A corrupt heart and an infidel creed 
usually go together. 

A dissolute ]ife and an open antagonism to Chris- 
tianit}'^ usually go hand in hand. There is no con- 
geniality between unbelief and the Word of God. 
Consider for a moment the characters of some of the 
most famous, or infamous, opponents of Divine Truth. 
Says Richard Watson, in substance, Blount com- 

The Divine Inspiration, etc. 117 

mitted suicide because prevented from an incestuous 
marriage; Tyndal was notoriously infamous; Hobbes 
changed his principles with his interests ; Morgan 
continued to profess Christianity, while he wrote 
against it ; the moral character of Voltaire was mean 
and detestable ; Bolingbroke was a rake and a fla- 
gitious politician ; Hume was revengeful, disgusting, 
vain, and an advocate of adultery and suicide ; Tom 
Payne was the slave of low and disgusting habits; 
Rosseau was an abandoned sensualist and guilty of 
the basest acts. 

Would any jury of intelligent men decide that the 
Holy Scriptures were inspired by men of this char- 
acter? Have they any marks of being produced by 
bad men ? 

2. Is the Bible the work of good men ? True, God 
made good men His amanuenses, but they were not 
the authors. They profess to write by divine inspira- 
tion, and for their utterances always have a "thus saith 
the Lord." If the Bible was their own production, 
they were untruthful, gross impostors, bad men, and 
as such would never have given it to the world. 
Bad men would not have produced the Holy Scrip- 
tures, and good men covid not have done so. 

May it be said that the authors were good men 
who acted under a delusion — that they were fanatics? 
This was charged upon St. Paul ; " Thou art beside 
thyself." But is it at all probable that even two or 
three men should have been affected with the same 
spirit of fanaticism ? Is it reasonable to suppose that 
all the authors of the various books of the Bible were 

118 North Carolina Sermons. 

thus affected, that so many good men were all '* be- 
side" themselves? Is it reasonable to suppose that 
their fanaticism led them to foretell events in the 
distant future which have been exactly fulfilled ; 
that it led them to work the most astonishing mira- 
cles ; that it led unlettered peasants, and fishermen 
to evolve and transmit to posterity the most perfect 
code of morals, the most sublime principles of philos- 
ophy, and the purest system of ethics ever known ? 
Is it reasonable to suppose that this fanaticism led so 
many to the most perfect agreement in their lofty 
conceptions of God, and in the statement of a religion 
which, despite opposition and persecution has steadily 
grown, until it dominates the most cultivated, en- 
lightened and powerful men and nations of the 
earth ? Mohammed may have been a fanatic. Un- 
less he was a bad man, he did act under a delusion. 
He was, however, only one man, but the Bible was 
written by many different men. One man may be 
deluded, but it is not reasonable to believe that so 
many should all be deceived, and that this deception 
should lead to perfect harmony of doctrine, and to 
the production of the most masterly work ever written, 
and upon the most profound subject that can engage 
the human intellect. It certainly requires a greater 
effort to believe the Bible false than to believe it true. 
The credulity of the deist is unsurpassed. 

III. The Bible, then, had its origin in God. 

If it is not the work of Satan, nor of bad men, nor 
of good men, what is the conclusion? If it had not 

The Divine Inspiration, etc. 119 

its origin in hell, nor on earth, where did it originate ? 
The only rational answer is found in the declaration 
of Paul, " All Scripture is given by inspiration of 
God." " Holy men of God spake as they were 
moved by the Holy Ghost." This book is God-given, 
heaven-sent, divine. 

And is it not, in every respect, worthy of such an 
author? Is it not just what might be expected, not 
from Satan, nor from bad men, nor from good men, 
but from God? Look at the sublimity of its doc- 
trines, the purity of its morals, the benevolence of its 
spirit, the consolation it affords in sickness and in 
death. No philosopher can account for the rise, prog- 
ress and prevalence of Christianity in opposition to 
the natural dispositions of men, their prejudices, and 
to many of their worldly plans, without admitting it 
attended by divine power. Then, too, truth bears 
inspection. The more carefully the Bible is studied, 
the more highly it is prized. Infidels are usually 
ignorant of its contents, and are not qualified to pass 
judgment upon its claims. Thej^ are usually im- 
moral in their lives, and no wonder they antagonize 
a book that reproves and condemns them. 

The death-bed brings us to an honest hour. In 
the prosperous hours of life and health, men may be 
deluded, and they may seek to deceive others, but 
rarely so when the}' stand upon the shores of eternity. 
That is an hour of revelations, awful and grand. 
The infidel has often, therefore, in that hour, detected 
and confessed his delusion. No instance, however, 
is recorded where one who enjoyed the assurance of 

120 North Carolina Sermons. 

divine pardon in life has regretted his faith in the 
Word of God, or sent back a message warning his 
frien(]s against his mistake, and the delusions of 
Christianity. Said Tom Payne, referring to his "Age 
of Reason," " If ever the devil had agency in any 
work, he had it in my writing that book." Said 
Voltaire, " I am abandoned by God and man ; I 
would give half I am worth f(ir six months longer to 
live." Said the dying Altaraont, "My principles 
have poisoned my friends, my extravagance has beg- 
gared my boy, my unkindness has murdered my 
wife, and is there another hell? Oh! thou blas- 
phemed, but indulgent God, hell is a refuge if it hut 
hide me from thy face!" Said Gibbon, the eloquent 
historian of the Roman Empire, " All things are fleet- 
ing; before me all is dark and doubtful." 

Turn to the bedside of the dying Cristian. Said 
John Knox, "I am not anxious whether I die or not, 
for if I die I shall be with God, and if I live He will 
be with me." Said John Wesley, "The best of all is, 
God is with us." Said Payson, "The celestial city is 
in full view." Said Stephen Gano. " I breathe the air 
of heaven." 

And yet, in the face of all these testimonies, there 
are in this Christian laud, in this enlightened age, 
bold, blatant infidels who inject their deadly poison 
into the hearts of our young men. "They speak 
evil of those things which they know not; but what 
they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things 
they corrupt themselves; raging waves of the sea, 
foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to 

The Divine Inspiration, etc. 121 

whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." 
Their companionship is more fatal than the plague 
or the serpent. Their presence is poison, their breath 
is perdition. 

We read of the death plant of Java. It is rarely 
found, and only in volcanic districts The flowers 
are large, milk white and attractive, but with all 
their beauty they distill a deadly periurae so power- 
ful as to destro}^ either vegetable or animal life. The 
pure and fragrant lilly when sei within the range 
of this sickening, pungent perfume soon droops and 
dies. The modest violet and queenly rose wither and 
fade away in its vicinity. The bird of paradise, 
when it ventures near, loses his brilliant plumage 
and falls fluttering and lifeless to the ground. The 
bold adventurer, or unwary traveler who approaches 
it, experiences violent convulsions which draw the 
mouth into a fearful grin, followed by headache, 
insensibility and death. It fitly represents the mod- 
ern infidel. His baleful association blights all that 
is pure, and modest, and lovely, and of good report. 
The odor of his presence afflicts the soul with moral 
convulsions that terminate in the sardonic grin and 
endless pangs of perdition. "Blessed is the man 
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor 
standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat 
of the scornful." 

" Should all the forms that men devise, 
Assault my faith with treacherous art, 
I'd call them vanity and lies 
And bind the gospel to my heart." 

122 North Carolina Sermons. 


By Rev. J. A. Reagan, A. M., M. D. 

"He came unto His own and His own received Him not."— John i: 11.. 

There are but few subjects of more interest to the 
Christian world than the one we propose briefly to 
investigate; nor are there many from which we can 
learn more strikingly the necessity of implicit obe- 
dience to divine precepts. Did Christ come as the 
Scriptures foretold? or are the Jews right in still 
looking for another? It was to them that the proph- 
ets spake; in their midst, and before their eyes signs 
and wonders were performed. It was to them that 
the law was given, and they were the acknowledged 
exponents of the same; and yet they declared that 
he who called himself Christ was an impostor; that 
his disciples were deluded, and the Christian world 
humbugged. This declaration, coming from the 
source it does, deserves at least some notice; and if 
the coming of Christ cannot be established beyond 
all successful contradiction, we had better abandon 
our faith and chime in with the Jews in looking for 
a Saviour yet to come. But, on the other hand, if 
we are able to prove successfully that He is the very 
Christ, the Saviour of men, the " God with us," the 
" anointed " of heaven, the one foretold by the proph- 
ets, the great prototype to which all other types 
pointed, then may we stand fast and firm in our faith^ 
and glory in that we have embraced Him as our- 

Christ's Coming. 123 

In order to this, we will notice some of the proph- 
ecies relating to His coming, and the circumstances 
connected therewith, as well as their fulfillment. 

The manner and circumstances under which those 
prophecies were communicated to man were peculiar; 
nevertheless, when we rightly understand them they 
show the wisdom of God in thus arranging them. 

The first prophecy in relation to the coming of 
Christ was given in the form of a promise, without 
telling the time, circumstances, name, lineage or any- 
thing else whereby the most distant idea could be 
formed of Him, save that He was to "destroy the 
works of the devil." This prophecy was delivered 
in these words to the serpent, doubtless in the pres- 
ence of Adam and Eve: "And I will put enmity 
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
and her seed: it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise 
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." It is evi- 
dent that our first parents, as well as subsequent gen- 
erations, could not have looked for a temporal fulfill- 
ment of this promise, or phophecy, for had they done 
so, no comfort could have been derived by it. They 
had just sinned — merited the displeasure of God — 
justly brought upon them His wrath and indigna- 
tion ; were to be driven from the garden and their con- 
verse with the Almighty, and deprived of His smiles 
and blessings. And, if with all these miseries press- 
ing upon them. He had told them, or they had under- 
stood, that they were literally to bruise the serpent's 
head, would it not have been adding misery to misery, 
instead of giving comfort to the disconsolate? It 

124 North Carolina Sermons. 

was a restoration to the favor of God that they 
desired; peace and happiness for themselves and 
•children that they earnestly sought, and this came 
to them in the language above given, and faith in 
that promise gave them peace, mitig:ited their suffer- 
ings and enabled them to endure their banishment. 
This promise, in itself, was not sufficient for those 
who had a disposition to doubt and quibble; nor 
would it have enabled us to embrace anyone as the 
Messiah. With this declaration alone, we would have 
been liable to imposition in every age. Some would 
have followed one and some another, each claiming to 
be sound in faith, and contending that all others are 
wrong. But God does not leave things in this way, 
for He brings ends together in such a way that His 
people may well say, "He perfects what His hands 
begin." After a lapse of something over two thou- 
sand years, God again appears to man in another 
promise drawing nearer the point, and limiting the 
fulfillment of the previous promise to the lineage or 
descendants of Abraham, saying: "In thee, and in 
thy seed, shall all nations be blessed." Previous to 
this it was not only unknown at what time He should 
come, but of what family He should be born, but 
now the glorious promise came as the mid-day Sun 
bursting from the chaos of darkness, and limits it to 
the descendants of that faithful servant of God. But 
even yet there was impenetrable gloom hanging oyer 
the fulfillment of this glorious promise. This, how- 
ever, was not to remain so long, for God determined 
to arrange it in a way that could not be gainsaid. 

Christ's Coming. 125> 

Old Israel or Jacob, after a long pilgrimage of one 
hundred and forty-seven years, was brought by the 
hand of affliction near death's door, and here God 
in his last hours removed the veil, poured into his 
sinking heart the renewal of past promises, and 
showed him their fulfillment. After Jacob had 
blessed a part of his children, he called for Judah, 
and with eyes turned toward heaven and a heart 
filled with divine inspiration, he says, "The sceptre 
shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from 
between his feet, until Shiloh come: and unto him 
shall the gathering of the people be." How consol- 
ing! how transcendantly glorious must have been 
this promise? and with what joy must it have been 
received? The timd — the blessed time — was now 
told. Judah was to hold the "sceptre" and have a 
"law-giver" until He that was promised should 
come. Was not this enough? He was to descend 
from Abraham, as had been told, and now the time 
was imperfectly made known. 

Let us, therefore, briefly call your attention to the 
fulfillment of these prophecies. Paul in writing to 
the Galatians, says : "But when the fullness of the 
time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a 
woman, made under the law, to redeem them that 
were under the law, that we might receive the adop- 
tion of sons." And John in his first general epistle, 
says, " He that committeth sin, is of the devil; for 
the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this pur- 
pose the Son of God was manifested, that he might 
destroy the works of the devil." Here we are- 

126 North Carolina Sermons. 

assured that he came at the tirne, and did the work 
which was implied in the first promise — " destroyed 
the works of tlie devil." But in the histor}^ of the 
Jewish nation to the weak and doubting heart fate 
seems, at times, against His coming before Judah 
shall lose the "sceptre" and " law-giver." The Jews 
apostatized ; the God of their fathers was angry with 
them; they were driven before their enemies; de- 
spoiled of their wealth ; and led captives to Babylon. 
But still those who remained were permitted to ex- 
ercise their own laws, and to weakly sway the sceptre 
of Judah. Again, when more prosperous days had 
dawned, Alexander, the terror of the world, who had 
laid waste and made desolate all the nations through 
which he passed, drew near to .Jerusalem, their 
hearts sank within them ; the weak sceptre trem- 
bled ; and the pains of death encompassed them. 
But before he arrived, God, who " moves in a myste- 
rious way, His wonders to perform," had subdued 
his ambitious heart; turned his wrath to love, and 
Israel was left alone in quiet Such are the workings 
of the Almighty. 

But, notwithstanding the prophecy declared that 
" Shiloh " should come before Judah should lose the 
sceptre, and the angels now testified that he had 
come, yet, even here there was some room left for 
imposition, as we shall hereafter see. Daniel, how- 
ever, confirms the prophecy by foretelling the pre- 
cise year and month, if not day, in which He should 
come : " Seventy weeks are determined upon thy 
people and upon thy holy city, to finish the trans- 

Christ's Coming. 127 

gression, and to make an end of sins, and to make 
reconciliation for iniquity, and to seal up the vision 
and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. Know 
therefore and understand, that from the going forth 
of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusa- 
lem unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven 
weeks, and threescore weeks." 

The Jews had Sabbatic years, by which their time 
was divided into weeks of years; each prophetic 
week denoting seven years — hence Daniel's " seventy 
weeks " stand (prophetically) for four hundred and 
ninety years. Most of the learned agree that the birth 
of Christ took place in the month Nisan, in the year 
of the Julian Period 4746. Reckoning back from 
this period four hundred and ninety years, we are 
brought to the same month, Nisan, in the reign of 
Artaxerxes Longimanus, at the very time that Ezra 
received the commission from this monarch to 
" restore and rebuild Jerusalem." 

In order to distinguish the promised Messiah from 
all others, and leave no reasonable ground for cavil 
and doubt, God has given us, by the holy prophets, 
many incidents connected with his coming, etc., 
which we will briefly notice. 

1. Christ was to have a forerunner. Isaiah, when 
speaking of him (the forerunner), says: "The voice 
of him that crieth in the wilderness. Prepare ye the 
way of the Lord ; make straight in the desert a high- 
way for our God." Luke says, " He (John) came 
into all the country about Jordan, preaching the 
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; as 

128 North Carolina Sermons. 

it is written in the words of Esaias the prophet, say- 
ing, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Pre- 
pare ye the way of the Lord." Again, it is said in 
Malachi, " Behold I will send my messenger, and he 
shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord 
whom ye seek shall suddenly come into his tem- 
ple; even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye 
delight in." This messenger is called " Elijah," by 
the same prophet. Hence the Jews asked John if 
he was Elias, or that prophet. 

2. Jesus ivas to be born of a virgin. " Therefore the 
Lord himself shall give you a sign ; Behold, a virgin 
shall conceive, and hear a son, and call his name 
Immanuel." Isaiah vii : 14. This was most strikingly 
fulfilled ; for the birth of Jesus Christ was on this 
wise : when his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, 
before they came together, she was found to be with 
child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her hus- 
band, being a just man, and not willing to make her 
a public example, was minded to put her away 
privily. But while he thought on these things, be- 
hold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a 
dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not 
to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is 
conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she 
shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name 

This is so plain that comment is entirely unnec- 

3. The place of Chrisfs birth, also, was foretold. 
And this, being correctly understood, is one of the 

Christ's Coming. 129 

clearest and most convincing prophecies connected 
with the coming of Christ ; and removes every pos- 
sible chance for imposition. " But thou Bethlehem 
Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands 
of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me 
that is to be ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have 
been from of old, from everlasting." — Mich, v: 2. "God 
brought him forth out of Egypt ; he hath as it were 
the strength of a unicorn." — Num. xxiv: 8. " When 
Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my 
son out of Egypt." — Hos xi: 1. " For the child shall 
be a Nazarite unto God." In these prophecies there 
seems to be, at first view, a contradiction ; but, on a 
closer examination, it will be seen that the wisdom 
of God is made manifest in this arrangement. Let 
us look at it: Had God only said that Christ should 
be born in "Bethlehem Ephratah;" had the time 
of His birth been pointed out also ; and had even His 
forerunner been seen preparing the way for Christ, 
with all His foretold insignia upon Him; yet there 
might have been some room left for imposition ; for 
there might have been others besides Christ, who, 
having been born in the same year, month and place 
with Jesus, would have urged their claims to the 
Messiahship. But the discrepancy above named en- 
tirely precluded the possibility of even a plausible 
pretension to such claims on the part of any impos- 
tor ; and the obscurity thrown around those predic- 
tions aids us much, when developed or precisely ful- 
filled, as has been done, in distinguishing the true 
from every false Christ. Had there arisen an impos- 

130 North Carolina Sermons. 

tor in Bethlehem, he could not have succeeded in his 
fraud, from the fact that he was not " called out of 
Egypt." And had there been one professedly " called 
out of Egypt," he would not have been entitled to 
the appellation of " a Nazarene" And had one come 
out of Nazareth, he would have been equally want- 
ing. But were all these prophecies fulfilled in the 
person of Christ ? Let us see : " And Joseph also 
went up from Galilee out of the city of Nazareth, 
into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called 
Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage 
of David), to be taxed with Mary, his espoused wife, 
being great with child. And so it was, that while 
they were there, the days were accomplished that she 
should be delivered. And she brought forth her 
first-born son." This fact is also established by the 
testimony of the " wise men," and the " star " which 
guided them to the place where He lay, as well as the 
angels that appeared to the shepherds who were feed- 
ing their , flock, saying, " For unto you is born this 
day, in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ 
the Lord." This is proof sufficient that He was "born 
in Bethlehem." But was He also " called out of 
Egypt "? " The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph 
in a dream, saying, Arise and take the young child 
and his mother and flee into Egypt, and be thou 
there until I bring thee word." But when Herod was 
dead, the angel of the Lord again appeared to Joseph, 
saying " Arise and take the young child and his 
mother, and go into the land of Israel : for they are 
dead which sought the young child's life." We now 

Christ's Coming. 131 

see that He was "born in Bethlehem," and "called 
out of Egypt." It only remains for us to see that He 
legally received the appellation of " a Nazare^ie," and 
then we are done with this part of our subject. "But 
when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in 
the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go 
thither : notwithstanding, being warned of God in a 
dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee : and 
he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth : that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets. 
He shall be called a Nazarene." This must certainly 
put the refutation of Christ's coming in the manner 
foretold entirely beyond even the attempts of infi- 
dels and skeptics. 

4. Christ was to be betrayed by a friend, as had been 
foretold. David says, " My own familiar friend in 
whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath 
lifted up his heel against me." And the Evangelists 
informs us that " Satan entered into Judas surnamed 
Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve: And 
he went his way and communed with the chief 
priests and captains, how he might betray him unto 
them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give 
him money." By consulting the history of inspira- 
tion farther, we learn that Judas had seen the blind 
restored to sight ; the lame made to walk ; the deaf 
caused to hear ; the dumb enabled to speak ; lepers 
instantly cleansed; devils cast out, and even the 
dead restored to life; that he had thus seen the 
power of God made manifest, and for the paltry sum 
of " thirty pieces of silver " or fifteen dollars he 

132 North Carolina Sermons. 

betrayed the Lord of Glory " into the hands of wicked 
men ! 

5. Christ wasto be dumb before His persecutors. "He 
was oppressed and he was afflicted ; yet he opened 
not his mouth : he is brought as a lamb to the slaugh- 
ter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he 
openeth not his mouth." This declaration, made 
seven hundred and twelve years before Christ, was 
most strikingly fulfilled by him — " And when he 
was accused of the chief priests and elders, he an- 
swered nothing. Then, said Pilate unto him, Hear- 
est thou not how many things they witness against 
thee ? And he answered him too never a word : inso- 
much that the governor marveled greatly." 

6. They were to cast lots upon Christ^ s vesture. David 
says, " They part my garments among them, and 
cast lots upon my vesture." And Luke, in describ- 
ing the scene on Calvary, says, that Jesus in the ago- 
nies of death exclaimed, " Father forgive them ; for 
they know not what they do : And they parted his 
raiment and cast lots." 

7. Christ loas to be " numbered with the transgressors.^' 
Isaiah liii: 12 — " Then were there two thieves cruci- 
fied with him ; one on the right hand and another 
on the left." Math, xxvii: 38. Here we see how 
clearly this prediction was fulfilled. 

8. There was not to be " a bone of him broken.'' 
Psalms, xxxiv: 20. John, who was an eye-witness, 
and faithful servant of Jesus, says, " The Jews there- 
fore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies 
should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath 

Christ's Coming. 133 

day (for that Sabbath day was a high day), besought 
Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they 
might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and 
brake the legs of the first, and of the other which 
was crucified with him. But when they came to 
Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they brake 
not his legs." 

9. The manner of Christ's burial ivas also foretold. 
" And he made his grave with the wicked, and with 
the rich in his death ; because he had done no vio- 
lence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." Isaiah 
liii. When the even was come, there came a rich 
man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself 
was Jesus' disciple : He went to Pilate and begged 
the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the 
body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken 
the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and 
laid it in his own new tomb, which had been hewn 
out in the rock." Math, xxvii : 10, Jesus himself 
declared that he would rise the third da3^ John ii: 19. 
On the third morning, therefore, those devoted and 
beloved women that had been last to leave our 
Saviour, found their way to the sepulchre, and when 
they arrived the resurrection had taken place; but 
they saw " the angel of the Lord " that " answered 
and said unto them. Fear not ye : for I know that ye 
seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here ; for 
he is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the 
Lord lay." 

We have now briefly passed over some of the most 
important prophecies concerning our Saviour, and also 

134 North Carolina Sermons. 

noticed their fulfillment, and now ask the candid 
reader to examine for himself and ask the question (for 
reason and common sense to answer), could the Jews, 
or anyone else, since the time of our Saviour, help 
acknowledging Him as the " very Christ," without 
doing it ignorantly or wilfully? How can such tes- 
timony be gainsaid? And how ignorant of the 
Scriptures must a man be to reject Him and look for 
another ! But strange as these things may seem, 
these very people who had the writings of " Moses 
and the prophets," and who were anxiously awaiting 
ft deliverer, refused to own Him as their Saviour ! " He 
was in the world, and the world was made by him, 
and the world knew him not. He came unto his 
own, and liis own received him not." But when 
Pilate was willing to release Jesus unto them, they 
cried out in a tumult, "Crucify him, crucify him." 
And " when Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, 
but that rather a tumult was made, he took water 
and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 
I am innocent of the blood of this just person: See 
ye to it." "Then answered all the people, and said, 
His blood be on us, and on our children." 

We have made the above quotations in order to 
show the manner in which the Jews rejected our 
Saviour. It is evident that their pride kept them, in 
this instance, from doing what their judgment con- 
vinced them that they should do. If our Saviour had 
descended from glory in a chariot of fire, demolished 
earthly kingdoms, and rode in triumph through the 
earth, then would they have embraced Him and 

Christ's Coming. 135 

humbled themselves before Him. But because He 
came as an humble babe of Bethlehem they cast 
Him off — refusing to embrace Him as the Messiah. 
And when they had witnessed His miracles, they 
were astonished and confounded, but still their proud 
hearts refused to own Him. Hence they closed their 
ej^es, refusing to see ; stopped their ears, unwilling to 
hear ; hardened their hearts, lest they should be con- 
vinced, and thus blindly and wilfully cast Him from 
them, crying, "Away with him;" "Crucify him!" 
Strange as this course may seem to us at the present 
time, we have many among us that act upon pre- 
cisely the same principle. If religion went in pomp 
and splendor, with golden slippers and silken gloves, 
speaking honeyed words with buttered tongue, 
through velvet lips, and exalting men to high earthly 
honors, they would then gladly, and of their own 
choice, be Christians! But when it demands an 
humble heart and godly walk, asks, "that all men 
shall be equal," and act in unison, as followers of 
Christ, they demur, and say b}^ their actions, as the 
Jews said of Christ, " Away with religion " for this 
time, "when we have a convenient season" we will 
think more about it. 

May God help us to be wise unto salvation, know- 
ing that there is no salvation out of Christ. May 
we embrace Him, love Him, honor and obey Him, 
that we may be eternally saved with Him. Amen. 

136 North Carolina Sermons. 

By Rev. T, J. Ogburn, 

Of the Noi'th Carolina Methodist Protestant Conference. 

"And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate : and 
they said one to another, why sit we here until we die ! If we say, we 
will go into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die 
there ; and if we sit still here we die also. Now therefore come and let 
us fall unto the host of the Syrians : if they save us alive, we shall live ; 
and if they kill us, we shall but die." II Kings vii : 3, 4. 

Parallel passages— Esther iv ; 16, and Jonah ill : 9. 

These scriptures suggest and illustrate the neces- 
sity, wisdom and duty of sometimes accepting and 
acting upon very unsatisfactory evidence, evidence 
amounting to only a bare possibility, and of deciding 
positively under even painful uncertainty. There 
are, here and there, persons predisposed to religious 
doubt, who are naturally skeptical as to God and all 
revealed truth, and who would excuse themselves 
from the demands of Christianity upon their service, 
and who suppose they can with impunity ignore all 
its claims, because a kind of uncertainty and unreal- 
ity attaches to religious things; because their truth 
is not capable of mathematical demonstration, and 
because doubts may be entertained concerning them. 
Now we believe this assumed attitude of indifference 
and irresponsibility as to religious things, the evi- 
dence of the truth and reality of which is not to 
every mind obvious and unmistakable, is utterly 
unreasonable and unlike men's conduct in what are 
called life's practical affairs. To almost every busi- 
ness undertaking there attaches more or less uncer- 
tainty as to its success and propriety ; and almost 

" If." 137 

every such enterprise is, indeed, a venture. And in 
many cases to refuse to venture, painful as is the 
doubt and unpromising as are the appearances, would 
be criminal. Says Bishop Butler, "To us, probabil- 
ity is the very guide of life. In matters of practice, it 
(probable evidence) will lay us under an absolute and 
formal obligation, in point of prudence and of inter- 
est, to act upon presumption or low probability, though 
it be so low as to leave the mind in very great doubt 
which is the truth. For surely a man is as really 
bound in prudence to do what, upon the whole, ac- 
cording to the best of his judgment, appears to be 
for his happiness as what he certainly knows to be. 
* * * Numberless instances might be mentioned 
respecting the common pursuits of life where a man 
would be thought, in a literal sense, distracted, who 
would not act, and with great application too, not 
only upon an even chance, but upon much less, and 
where the probability or chance was greatly against 
his succeeding." The conduct of the poor lepers in 
the text is manifestly wise. Their condition was 
desperate. They must die unless they go into the 
enemy's camp; there they could but die, and they 
might live. Could Aristotle, or Locke, or Bacon, have 
reasoned better? Thus, often, in utter desperation 
and under compulsion to do a rash thing or die, a kind 
of fool-hardiness proves to be the highest wisdom. It 
was so in the case of Esther, who, with no encour- 
agement and " not according to the law," with her life 
in her hand, went in before the King to avert the 
impending doom gf herself and her people. " If I 

138 North Carolina Sermons. 

perish, I perish." Nor were the Niaevites unreason- 
able in repenting and crying mightily unto God, 
although with no assurance that He would hear them, 
but only the bare possibility, " Who can tell if God 
will repent and turn himself from his fierce anger 
that we perish not ? " True, in neither case above 
cited did the actors know they would succeed. Bat 
it is just as true they did not know they would not. 
Upon this ground of uncertainty does the agnostic 
stand — uncertainty as to supernatural things. He 
neither affirms nor denies. He says these things 
are neither provable nor disprovable ; they are to us 
unknowable. Yet because, as he thinks, the revela- 
tions of Christianity are not demonstrably true, not 
capable of positive proof, therefore he may utterly 
disregard its claims, and with the snap of his finger 
toss away from his consideration the sublimest ques- 
tions of life. Though, like Athenians, to whom God 
was " the unknown," he is not, like them, "too super- 
stitious"; for to this " unknown God " he has neither 
altar nor inscription. 

Not infrequently some flippant unbeliever asks, 
who knows that there is a God ; that the Bible is true, 
and that there is a future life of bliss or woe accord- 
ing to our conduct here ? I would ask, does he know 
there is no God ? " The fool hath said in his heart 
there is no God ; " but his saying so does not make 
it so. Nor does one's attitude towards any question 
affect that question. It may, and often does, affect 
him. Men once doubted the existence of this con- 
tinent. But it was here all the same, a vast out- 

"If." 139 

stretch of country, with its fertile plains and tower- 
ing mountains, and the thundering cataracts and 
untold mineral wealth, and infinitely varied and 
abundant resources sufficient to support in magnifi- 
cent splendor the mightiest nation that ever peopled 
any country, nor did it ever shrink an inch from its 
natural proportions to accommodate those who 
doubted its existence. Facts are very unaccommo- 
dating things. Real facts are absolutely indepen- 
dent. They do not change for anything. I suppose 
that even Omnipotence could not affect a fact. You 
" do not believe there is any God." Do you knovj 
there is none? Have you philosophically demon- 
strated the impossibility of His existence? Have 
you positive evidence of His non-existence ? Do you 
know all that can be known upon this subject ? Have 
you searched the universe through and through, and 
do you now return with certain assurance that this 
vast and orderly system has no maker, no ruler? 
" Canst thou by searching find out (no) God ? " You 
" do not believe the Bible can be proven true ? " Can 
you prove it untrue? Do you know there is no here- 
after, nor heaven, nor hell ? Are you quite sure that 
the Gospels are a forgery, that Jesus is a myth and 
Christianity a farce? And have you named your 
boys Paine and Voltaire and Rosseau, and do you 
teach them your skeptical principles? Unless very 
immodest, you must admit that you ma^/ mistake; 
that possibly, that grand religious system whose 
"leading tenets are held by every university of 
eminent repute in Europe and America," many of 

140 North Carolina Sermons. 

whose professedly revealed truths could not have 
been humanly originated nor discovered by reason, 
and which cannot be improved upon nor rendered 
obsolete nor superseded ; that system whose name has 
become a synonym for civilization, and which has 
organized and munijficently endowed the great char- 
ities of the world; which is in favor with a large 
majority of the ripest scholars of this century, and 
to the propagation of which Christian men have con- 
secrated millions of their wealth, and whose doc- 
trines have raised the fallen, reclaimed the vicious, 
comforted the sorrowing, inspired the living and 
soothed the dying. I say, you must admit that this 
system called Christianity may be true. How unrea- 
sonable, then, is your position of determined indif- 
ference to the requirements of Christianity because 
you do not know it to be true, while on the other 
hand, you cannot know it to be false! How rash to 
act exactly as if it ivere false, because it may be false, 
rather than act as if it were true, because it may be 
true. Why risk what may be your supreme and 
everlasting well-being upon what may prove the 
fatal side of an uncertainty ! Consider religion first, as 
affecting this life only. If " man was made to glorify 
God and enjoy him forever ; " if " godliness is profit- 
able unto all things, having promise of the life that 
now is; " if even temporal good " be added unto those 
who seek first the kingdom of God and his right- 
eousness ; " if " all things work together for good to 
them that love God;" if "faith is a living power 
from God," the natural exercise of our highest facul- 

" If." 141 

ties and the grandest inspiration to noble endeavors ; 
if men " through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought 
righteousness, obtained promises and out of weak- 
ness were made strong ; " if " this is the victory that 
overcometh the (present, natural) world, even faith " 
in the eternal, supernatural world, and if the Chris- 
tian religion is humanity's great essential and richest 
experience and crowning glory — then how fearful the 
immediate loss befalling the ungodly, unbelieving, 
irreligious man ! Nor is this loss offset by any profit 
accruing to the sinner from his prayerlessness, pro- 
fanity and other worldliness. By these very things 
he forfeits the now, if not the hereafter — this present 
world, if not that which is to come. This sad cry of 
the worldly-minded man, after he has tried all earth 
has to offer, must be, "Vanity of vanities! All is 
vanity ! " And his heart must be 

" An aching void, 
The world can never fill." 

But how much greater does the mistake appear 
when viewed in the light of eternity, if there be to us 
an eternity ! O, if there be a God, and if Jesus Christ 
be His son and our Saviour, and if the Bible be God's 
word, and if it be a crime to disobey God and reject 
His son and disbelieve His word ; and if our conduct 
here shall determine our condition in the life to 
come! If the heaven of God shall be the everlasting 
home of His faithful children, and the hell of demons 
be the prison-house of the disobedient, then how 
awful a mistake is a life of irreverence and practical 

142 North Carolina Sermons. 

atheism ! A mistake incomparably greater than we 
can believe the opposite could be even were Chris- 
tianity untrue. Why not risk erring on the safe side 
of this, to you, doubtful question ? And why not 
presume upon the higher hypothesis of man's spirit- 
ual and immortal nature, rather than upon the lower 
and debasing one that he is " like the brutes that 
perish ; " especially, when to act on this lower one 
is the only possible dangerous course ? For if man is 
only a highly eudowed intellectual animal with no 
future life awaiting the close of this, then there can be 
no post-mortem consequences of this life, whether well 
or ill spent. But should the sequel prove man's im- 
mortality and future rewardableness true, and no 
one knows that it may not, then piety assumes an 
infinite importance no wise man may disregard. 

In view of man's ignorance of the subjects of 
revelation, and of the vast interests possibly involved, 
it is quite plain that the only attitude becoming even 
the most intelligent and least religious skeptic is one 
of cautious, reverent inquiry — " a serious, practical 
apprehension that Christianity may be true — an 
awful solicitude about religion, whether natural or 
revealed, such as to turn men's eyes to every degree 
of new light which may be had, from whatever side 
it comes ; and to induce them to refrain, in the mean- 
time, from all immoralities and live in the conscien- 
tious practice of every common virtue. Especially 
are they bound to keep at the greatest distance from 
all dissolute profaneness, for this the nature of the 
case forbids ; and to treat with highest reverence a 

" If." 143 

matter upon which their own whole interest and 
being depend." The sneer of ridicule and the cavil 
of the lighthearted are out of place here. Laughter 
here is " the laughter of fools." Questions of life and 
death, of serious and eternal interests, are now consid- 
ering. " Put off thy shoes from oflf thy feet," poor 
agnostic, " the place whereon thou standest (may be) 
holy ground." Bare your brow and open your heart 
and lift your eyes to the self-revealing God. Walk 
toward the light, be it ever so dim. Pray! Yes, pray! 
If not with confidence then in despair, as did the 
dying atheist, " If there be any God, I pray that He 
may have mercy on my soul ! " Say in your heart 
" To whom shall we go ? " In utter desperation com- 
mit yourself, your soul, your all, to even the " un- 
known God." What else can you do ? Where else 
can you go ? Go ask the infidel what boon he brings 
us, what balm " for aching hearts he can reveal." 

Do you say, " I have no faith." You had better 
go without faith than never go at all. Have you the 
sincere desire to know God and to do His blessed 
will ? Then to you He will give the faith, and He 
says, " Him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise 
cast out." Come and see. Prove Him. You may 
knoiu " that He is a rewarder of all them that dili- 
gently seek Him." 

" I can but perish if I go, 
I am resolved to try; 
For if I stay away, I know 
I shall forever die." 

144 North Carolina Sermons. 


By Rev. Jesse H. Page, 
Of the North Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S.). 

" All these things are against me." Genesis Ixii : 36. 

The incidents given in the Bible of the lives of 
Jacob and his twelve sons will never cease to stir the 
minds and hearts of the thoughtful to their profound- 
est depths. The varied experiences through which 
they were called to pass, and their bearing under 
them, are delineated so clearly and in a manner so 
true to nature as to make us feel that the ties of kin- 
ship that bind us to them are very close, and that 
when we study their lives we are holding commu- 
nion, not with imaginary characters, but with beings 
in actual life. 

Jacob and Simeon, Judah, Joseph and Benjamin 
were men " subject to like passions as we are," and 
also capable of the same joys and sorrows. 

Subject: Man^s vieiv and God^s vieiu of ivhat are 
called calamities of this life. 

It is said that calamities always come in groups — 
never singly. This is illustrated in the case of Job. In 
the midst of great prosperity, described by himself, 
29th chapter, 2d to 23d verses — " In the days when 
God preserved me; when his candle shined upon 
my head," etc. — evil tidings came to him from all 
quarters and in rapid succession : 

Dark Days. 145 

1. "The oxen were plowing and the asses feeding 
beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and 
took them away; Yea, and they have slain thy ser- 
vants with the edge of the sword." Job i : 14, 15. 

2. " While he was yet speaking," another comes 
with the news that "The fire of God is fallen from 
heaven (lightning) and hath burned up the sheep 
and servants, and consumed them." i: 16. 

3. "While he was yet speaking," another messen- 
ger comes with the news that " The Chaldeans made 
out three bauds and fell upon the camels and car- 
ried them away, and slew the servants with the edge 
of the sword." 

4. " While he was yet speaking, there came also 
another and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were 
eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's 
house: and, behold, there came a great wind from 
the wilderness (cyclone), and smote the four corners 
of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and 
they are dead." i: 18, 19. 

5. Before he had time to recover from the shock, 
he himself is afflicted with a dreadful disease — pain- 
ful and loathsome, and of long duration; and 

6. Worse tlian all, the only one left to whom he 
could look for comfort and strength proves faithless in 
this his hour of trial, and chides him for his constant 
trust in God: " Dost thou still retain thine integrity? 
Curse God and die." ii : 9. 

" Nothing," says a writer, " makes the ungodly so 
angry as4o see the godly under trial not angry." 


146 North Carolina Sermons. 

I. In the case of Jacob, *' all these things " formed 
what he regarded a combination of adversities : 

1. There was a grievous famine throughout the 
land in which he lived. "The heaven was brass 
overhead and the earth underneath was iron." Deut. 
xxviii : 23. The question of bread was a serious 
one, and great suffering, if not actual starvation, 
seemed inevitable. How grateful should we be who 
are blessed with such bountiful supplies ! 

2. The evil conduct of his soris, most of them, was a 
source of constant grief. All parents are vitally 
affected by the deportment of their children. "See- 
ing that his life is bound up in the lad's life" is 
applicable to many parents besides Jacob. " A fool- 
ish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her 
that bare him." Prov. xvii : 25. " He that wasteth 
his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son 
that causeth shame and bringeth reproach." Prov. 
.xix : 26. Such were the sons of Jacob. 

The old Mosaic law was extremely rigid in such 
cases : " If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, 
which will not obey the voice of his father," etc., " all 
the men of the city shall stone him with stones, that 
he die." Deut. xxi : 18-21. " Whoso curseth his 
father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in 
obscure darkness." Prov. xx : 20. " The eye that 
mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his 
mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, 
and the young eagles shall eat it." Prov. xxx : 17. 

The other side. '' The father of the righteous shall 
greatly rejoice." Prov. xxiii : 24. " I have no greater 

Dark Days. 147 

joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 
John iii: 4. Jacob's sons gave their father trouble. 

3. The wounds produced by what to him for 
years was the tragic death of his favorite son, Joseph, 
had not been healed during the long period of 
twenty-two years. That torn and bloody coat — all 
that remained to him of his beloved boy — kept 
before his mind continually the soul-harrowing 
thought that" Joseph is, without doubt, rent in pieces 
and devoured by an evil beast." How could he sup- 
press his grief while the memory of this terrible thing 

4. But the climax of his troubles was reached when 
Benjamin, the youngest, must be taken away. Simeon 
was held as a hostage — a prisoner — and could be 
released only when Benjamin should go as a proof 
of their statements respecting their father and his 
sons. His experience with his sons gave him good 
grounds of fear for the safety of his child. No won- 
der he shuddered at the very thought of seeing him 
go off with them. That was a trying ordeal through 
which the gray-haired patriarch was called to pass 
when he cried out in anguish of spirit, " Me have ye 
bereaved of my children ; Joseph is not, and Simeon 
is not, and ye will take Benjamin away ; all these 
things are against me." 

But the alternative was, Benjamin must go, or 
starvation must come. That was an honest declara- 
tion — he felt that " all these things were against 
him." It was a natural conclusion to reach, stand- 
ing face to face with, the present in the shadow of the 
bitter experience of the past. You and I, and all of 

148 North Carolina Sermons. 

us, under similar circumstances, would feel and 
speak as he did. 

II. But there is another side to this 'picture. 

God, wiiose " thoughts are not our thoughts, and 
whose ways are not ours," looked at all these things 
in an entirely different light, and designed the 
accomplishment of a grand and glorious purpose, 
which did not appear at all to one looking on from 
a human standpoint. His hand, unseen, was "mak- 
ing the wrath of man to praise Him," and causing 
all these bitter experiences of His servants to " work 
together for their good." Very soon the joyous news 
was brought to the grief-smitten patriarch, " Joseph 
is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of 
Egypt." Joseph, for whom he had grieved as one 
dead for twenty-two years, yet alive! The news, he 
thought, was too good to be true. No wonder the 
sad heart of the old father fainted under the weight 
of joy. When assured by the long line of Egyptian 
wagons which his now highly honored son had sent 
to take him and his household from the famine- 
stricken land to one of plenty " his spirit revived," 
and he gave utterance to his overflowing joy, " It is 
enough : Joseph my son is yet alive ; I will go and 
see him before I die. Gen., xlv: 27, 28. 

It is thus, brethren, with all God's children under 
those experiences which we call adversities or calam- 
ities, sufferings, afflictions and bereavements. These 
things are not against us, as we imagine. None of 
these things " for the present seem to be joyous, but 

Dark Days. 149 

grievous, nevertheless afterward (often very soon) 
they yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to 
those that are exercised thereby." Pleb. xii:ll. 
" Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh 
in the morning." Ps. xxx : 5. How often when the 
clouds gather, when men may combine against us, 
and God seems to forsake us, do we feel and say with 
Jacob: "All these things are against me." We should 

" Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, 
But trust Him for His grace ; 
Behind a frowning providence 
He hides a smiling face." 

David, " in a great strait," said, " Let us fall now 
into the hand of the Lord ; for his mercies are great ; 
and let me not fall into the hand of man." 2 Sam. 
xxiv : 14. But for the fact taught in the Bible that 
God controls all things and makes them " work 
together for good to them that love him," we would 
sometimes sink into despondency and give up the 
struggle. But being assured that He can and does 
convert evils into blessings; that He " makes the wrath 
of man to praise him, and will restrain the remain- 
der of wrath," and " make even our enemies to be at 
peace with us," let us " lift up the hands which hang 
down and the feeble knees," and be " strong in the 
strength which God gives through his beloved Son." 
Let us remember that while of ourselves we can do 
nothing, yet we can do all things through Christ 
who strengtheneth us. " He hath said I will never 
leave thee nor fail thee." " God is our refuge and 
strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore 

150 North Carolina Sermons. 

will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and 
though the mountains be carried into the midst of 
the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be 
troubled, though the mountains shake with the swell- 
ing thereof." " There is a river, the streams whereof 
make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of 
her ; she shall not be moved : God shall help her 
and that right early. The heathen raged, the king- 
doms were moved ; he uttered his voice, the earth 
melted. The Lord of hosts is with us ; the God of 
Jacob is our refuge." In this refuge let us find 
security and rest until the storms be overpast. 

By Rev. J. F, Butt, 

Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 

"But God said unto him, Thou fool this night thy soul shall be 
required of thee, then whose shall those things be which thou hast pro- 

" So is he that layeth up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward 
God."— Luke xii: 20, 21. 

There are many kinds of fools in the world, but 
the biggest fool of all is the rich fool. 

Now we will assert right here that it is not neces- 
sary that riches shall absolutely cause a man to be 
irreligious, nor is it necessary that a man shall be 
poor in order to be good, although much the larger 
proportion of the best men in the world belong to the 
class who may be called poor, or who may be in 
moderate circumstances in life. 

The Rich Fool. 151 

Then, on the other hand, a very small proportion 
of rich men in the world are noted for their liberal- 
ity, or their zeal in working for the souls of their 
fellow-men, nor can there be selected from that class 
many who are noted for their deep piety, and we 
fully realize the truth of God's word found in Matt. 
xxiv: 28, " For wheresoever the carcass is there will 
the eagles be gathered together;" and Matt, vi: 21 and 
Luke xii: 34, " For where your treasure is, there will 
your heart be also." The observation and experi- 
ence of one of the most celebrated divines, who was 
as well acquainted with the inhabitants of New York 
as any man in America, said, with its 1,700,000 
inhabitants, he could count on his ten fingers every 
man there who was rich and a worker for Christ. 

The fact is, in order to accumulate a large fortune 
it is absolutely necessary that no time should be 
taken up in anything except in deep and perpetual 
thought and labor and worldly wisdom in accumu- 
lation by the best of judgment and business sagacity, 
and investing so as to keep and increase what has 
been made. And it is a question not fully settled 
whether, by real honesty, any man can keep the 
golden rule and do unto others what he would have 
them do unto him and accumulate a large fortune. 

As a large wealth coming to one man must neces- 
sarily deplete the possessions of another, and ten 
thousand dollars or more made by one man must be 
supplied from the pockets of the moderate in worldly 
possessions, extortion must be put in operation in 
order to satisfy the aspirations and avarice of the rich 

152 North Carolina Sermons. 

and continually growing rich man. In fact, as a 
general rule, men grow rich by making and keeping 
others poorer. 

The proprietors of factories, as a general thing, 
declare large dividends every six or twelve months, 
and have frequently to double the dimensions of 
their buildings ; and wear purple and fine linen and 
dwell in palaces, and move in every respect in a 
lordly style. And all this has to come out of the 
hard earnings of women and children who are de- 
pendent on their situation to get not much more 
than the husks which hardly the swine would eat. 
The scantiest fare and the most constant economy 
keeps them just alive. May not such an one be said 
to be a rich fool ? Great riches are not necessary to 
happiness, nor do large accumulations satisfy the 
cravings of an immortal soul. The fact is, any man 
who imagines that the soul, the breath of God in 
man, can satisfy itself with anything short of spirit- 
ual and religious food, is not wise, and is just as much 
a fool as the man spoken of in our text. 

Now we will notice some of the misconceptions 
and follies of this man. 

1. Talking to his soul and making a misrepresen- 
tation that led him into false and foolish decisions. 

2. It was an untruth in saying that it was for many 
years. A man is sadly deceived when he persuades 
himself that he can live surely many days, when 
Job says our lives or days are swifter than a weaver's 
shuttle and spent without hope. 

The man who lived longer than any man other 
than himself, at the age of 969 years died and could 

The Rich Fool. 153 

not have said that he would live many days, for that 
long life, in comparison to the never-ending ages of 
eternity is but as a grain of sand on the ocean shore 
in comparison to the many millions there. 

But if it had been true that he could have lived 
many thousands of ages it would not have brought 
ease to him in this world, for rest and ease are no- 
where to be found here, for the poet has inquired for 
it and asked, 

" Oh ! where shall rest be found, 
Rest for the weary soul, — 

Not in ocean's depths, or even between the poles, 
For the world can never give the bliss for which we sigh." 

Oh ! how foolish it is, or was, in him^to think that 
eating and drinking and being merry was satisfying 
the claims that God had on him in this state of pro- 
bation or trial. 

How fully satisfied he was, when it was too late, 
that he had made a woeful mistake. That in all 
his worldly prosperity he had made an unwise choice, 
and must leave it all, and that he would never see 
another day ; that another sun would never rise on 
him ; that he had had his good things in this life — 
by his own choice ; that this night would seal his 
everlasting destiny ; that soul and body must part — 
" this night thy soul shall be required of thee." Days 
and nights of deep anxiety and industrious labor 
had crowned him with success such as the world 
admires. He was doubtless honored and respected 
and praised for what they call success. Oh ! how 
many times have we heard it said of such an one in 

154 North Carolina Sermons. 

great praise, " He started on a few shillings; just see 
how he has succeeded — why could not I have been 
so fortunate ? " I knew a man years ago who, by 
farming, got very rich — had a religious and pious 
wife — who was noted for his benevolence, even in 
the erection of a splendid church to which she be- 
longed, and who was liberal, as the world would say, 
in feeding the poor from his table ; at all the pro- 
tracted meetings ; but whose time was mostly taken 
up in making a splendid farm and in the erection 
of a magnificent residence. To all human appear- 
ances, he looked as if he might live many years to 
enjoy his large accumulations. He was worldly-wise, 
admired and honored far and near for his manage- 
ment. But although he attended all the services, in 
his fine carriage, to gratify his wife, he could not be 
induced to give his heart to God and be a Christian. 
When one of his servants was sick he gave personal 
attention in nursing, and in passing from his com- 
fortable chamber at night to the apartment of the 
sick servant to see the medicine punctually admin- 
istered he took cold, which settled on his lungs, and 
in a few days his soul and body was separated. It 
was said unto him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul 
shall be required of thee." He sent for his wife's 
pastor to converse with him, and said, in his dying 

hours, " Oh ! Mr. S , if I had only been a poor 

man, I could have had time to prepare to die; but 
I am unready and unprepared to go. Oh ! what a 
fool I have been — and there's none to dispute it ! " 

Then to whom were those things to belong which 
he had provided? He understood law, and long 

The Rich Fool. 155 

before bis death wrote bis own will on many pages 
of foolscap; and tbougb his legal knowledge would 
prevent any litigation, yet years and years passed 
away before it w^as settled, but not as was bis anxious 
desire that it should be. So it will be with all of us 
who are laying up treasures for ourselves and are not 
rich toward God. 

" The fool hath said in bis heart there is no God." 
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. The 
man who dotes on long life and does not give his heart 
to God is a fool. The man who thinks he can be 
happy in worldly prosperity without religion is a 
fool. Fools, as we live only for self. Fools at death, 
wben we remember what we have done in the neg- 
let of the future. Fools when we stand at the throne 
of judgment and bear the dreadful sentence of "De- 
part, ye accursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for 
the devil and his angels." We will know we have 
been fools, when in full sight of heaven we shall see 
and realize all the joys that others have, like Dives 
did Lazarus, and we cut off by a gulf between heaven 
and hell that can afford no beneficial communication 
between the inhabitants of the two conditions of souls. 

And, in conclusion we will say, that through the 
endless cycles of eternity we will cry, fools! fools! 
fools! we have been in yonder world; like Judas, it 
would be better for us if we had never been born. 
I would rather be the most despised reptile that 
crawls on earth than to be unconverted and unsanc- 
tified on earth. There is not a reptile in hell. " The 
wicked shall be turned into hell with all the nations 
that forget God." 


North Caeolina Sekmons. 


By Rev, J. H. Cordon, D. D., pastor at Oxford,* 

Of the North Carolina Conference (M. E. C, S.). 

" Thy love to me was wonderful."— II Samuel i : 2fi. 

These words formed a part of the most touching 
eulogium which the profoundest grief and finest 
genius ever uttered. On reading it, one is left in 
doubt of which art David was the greatest master, 
whether it was in the use of the pen, the harp, or the 

Jonathan found in liim one worthy to preserve his 
memory and record his virtues, and David's genius 
has preserved these like fragrant spikenard in a box 
of alabaster, or, as I have seen, a drop of water 
shrined within the crystal walls of a precious stone. 

* Died at Oxford, February, 1893. 

The Love of Christ. 157 

It is due the Psalmist to remark that this noble 
panegyric does no less honor to his lieart than to his 
head. Remember that the death of Saul has re- 
moved the only obstacle that stood between David 
and the throne, and had rid him of an enemy that had 
pursued him for some years with rancorous and un- 
relenting hatred. It is a common and a just saying 
that we should say no evil of the dead. They are 
not here to defend themselves. And, unless where 
great interests are involved, their ashes should not 
be disturbed. In his circumstances, the utmost re- 
quired of David would have been to preserve a de- 
vout and becoming silence about Saul — burying all 
recollections of him in the grave. But he was inca- 
pable of this. He was cast in a finer mould ; made 
of nobler metal. His generous heart, forgiving and 
forgetting every wrong, warmed at the recollections 
of those early happy days when the King drew the 
shepherd boy from obscurity, received him into the 
bosom of his family — and when, harp in hand, he 
threw the chain of music over Saul's stormy passions, 
bidding waves be still. David buries Saul's faults 
in the grave ; he leaves the dross to lie undisturbed 
among the cold embers; he brings out the gold, the 
finer elements of Saul's character, and without im- 
puting to him virtues he never possessed, he tells all 
the good of Saul he can, and crowns his memory 
with the honors due to a King — a kind-hearted 
father, and a man as brave as ever faced a foe. " From 
the blood of the slain " — he sings — " from the fat of the 
mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and 

158 North Carolina Sermons. 

the sword of Saul returned not empty. Saul and 
Jonathan were lovely in their lives and in their death 
they were not divided. They were swifter than eagles, 
they were stronger than lions." But Jonathan is the 
grand subject of this beautiful lament — the principal 
figure in the canvas. In some respects Jonathan stands 
without a rival in all history, sacred or profane. 
Had we known him better we might have thought 
less of him, we would have found some fault in him, 
and that it was true of him, as of the best of fallen 
men, that the brightest sun is dimmed by spots; yet 
there is no fault recorded of Jonathan, and confer- 
ring on him more honor than on anyone else whose 
name stands in this sacred book, God has not left a 
stain to blot his memory. If there ever was friend- 
ship in this world, pure, unalloyed by any inferior 
metal, disinterested, free of envy, without any ele- 
ment of selfishness, incapable of harboring a sus- 
picious thought, it had glowed in the bosom that 
now lay cold on Gilboa's lonely mountain. Battle 
spear never pierced such a generous heart, nor had 
war ever such a graceful victim offered on her blood- 
stained shrine. Men never possessed a friend such 
as David lost in Jonathan. If ever man loved a 
neighbor as he did himself, that man was Jonathan; 
and no one with a head and heart can read his tragic 
history without feeling that he was worthy of this 
extraordinary but not extravagant laudation, "Thy 
love to me was wonderful." 

But who can read the words of my text without 
thinking of a greater than Jonathan ? As we muse 

The Love op Christ. 159 

on these words Gilboa vanishes and Calvary rises to 
view. The battle scene, with Jonathan standing like 
a lion at bay, or faint from loss of blood sinking 
beneath his wounds, shifts, and I see Jesus standing 
alone amid the impious crowd, or fainting beneath 
His cross in the streets of Jerusalem. The hill 
where, in the pale moonlight, all stiff and stark and 
bloody, Jonathan lies surrounded b}'- heaps of dead, 
his face to heaven and his foot to the foe that have 
fallen before his arm, gives place to another scene. 
A tall cross tops the summit of Mount Calvary, and 
the sun's level beams shine on the drooping head 
and mangled, bloody form of the Son of God. To 
Him these words best belong. We hang the harp of 
David on that Cross, and Jonathan himself consent- 
ing, we take this garland from his brow to weave it 
into the crown of thorns, saying, as we turn to Jesus, 
" Thy love to me was wonderful." 

I. And the love of Christ to us is ivonderfid because 
there was nothing in us lovely. 
One law of our nature is, w^e cannot behold the 
beautiful without admiring it. Another is that so 
far as earthly objects are concerned, and apart from 
the beauty of holiness, we cannot help loving what 
is lovely, and regarding it with affection. Our affec- 
tions are drawn to an attractive object as naturally 
as iron to a lodestone. God made us to love, and 
when brought near to such an object, our feelings 
entwine themselves around it as the soft and pliant 
tendrils of the vine do around the support it clothes 
with leaves and hangs with purple clusters. 

160 North Carolina Sermons. 

Without detracting from Jonathan's merits, it 
must be owned that, however wonderful the love was 
he bestowed upon David, it was not bestowed on an 
unworthy object. One brave man loves another. 
In the old days of chivalry men honored courage in 
their enemies, loving and admiring bravery even 
when in arms against them. And it is not wonder- 
ful at all in the sense we are considering it that the 
soul of Jonathan was kind to the soul of David, and 
Jonathan loved him as his own soul. They had 
much in common. In warlike achievements, in 
strong affections, in generosity of temper, in genuine 
piety, in courage that dared everything and was 
daunted by nothing, these brothers in arms answered 
to each other as face answereth to face in a glass, or as 
I have seen two bright drops of quicksilver when 
brought to touch each other run into one, so were 
Jonathan and David united. We turn now from 
them to Christ and ourselves, and what do we find in 
man to win the love of Calvary. The day that saw 
Jonathan's soul knit to David's, saw David in arms 
fighting his father's battles and saving his father's 
crown. We were in arms too, but it was against the 
right and against God's government ; we were fight- 
ing too, but it was on the wrong side — rebels against 
God in the ranks of the devil. It is not enough to 
say there was nothing lovely in us, that as a holy 
God He saw nothing in us to love. Sin, that abom- 
inable thing which He hates, the seed and germ of 
all evil — a thing so hateful that it is said that He 
cannot look on it, had so pervaded the nature of 

The Love of Christ. 161 

every individual man, and the whole race of men, 
that it necessitated God to abhor His own creatures. 
Do not be startled at the expression ; I use no lan- 
guage stronger than I can justify. Look at a corpse, 
putrid, bloated, infecting all the air, every feature of 
humanity shockingly defaced, the bright eye, damask 
cheek, sweet lips, the lovely form changed into vilest 
loathsomeness, a banquet to worms, which, as they 
creep out and creep in, give a horrible life to death. 
Were the dearest, fondest object of our affections 
reduced to a state like that, how would we throw it 
shuddering from our embraces, and call in pity for a 
grave to bury our dead. This is a fair picture of the 
havoc sin hath made in creatures whom He made 
after His own image. The heavens are not clean in 
His sight; He charges the angels with folly. Should 
we wonder, then, that fallen man is abhorred in His 
sight ? Just so soon as man, under the light of God's 
spirit, sees himself aright, he abhors himself — listen 
to one whose words will find an echo in every con- 
verted heart: " I have heard of thee with the hearing 
of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee, wherefore I 
abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." 

It is said that with all her baseness, her duplicity, 
her cruelty, the passions and crimes that have left an 
indelible stain on her memory, Queen Mary had 
much queenly grace. So perfect was her form, her 
face so beautiful, her smiles so winning, that it was 
only men cast in the stern mould of John Knox 
that could resist their witchery. But in sight of God's 
holiness, sin left us no attractiveness. There was 

162 North Carolina Sermons. 

nothing but human misery to draw down divine 
mercy. Sin left nothing in man which it did not 
touch, and, like blow-flies, whatever it touched it 
tainted. The whole man was affected — head, heart, 
soul, reason, and aff'ections, the imagination and the 
will. The deadly venom of the serpent's fang, like 
a subtle poison thrown into the circulation, was 
borne throughout all the frame. If it be true of all 
mankind that they are altogether become filthy, true 
that there is none that doeth good, no, not one, true 
that every imagination of man's heart is evil contin- 
ually, then sin left us with nothing to engage, but 
everything to repel, the affections of a holy Saviour, 
Salvation, therefore, must be all grace, and the 
Saviour's love must have its meetest and majestic 
emblem in the sun of heaven. Sustained in the sky 
with no pillars that rest on the earth it hangs on 
nothing, and its bright beams, unlike the stone, the 
falling rain, the blazing, dying meteor, that fall to the 
earth by virtue of its attractions, are sent forth by a 
power within itself. So with love divine — the heal- 
ing beams the Son of Righteousness — by His mercy 
He saves us, and in embracing, not the lovely but 
the loathesome, well may we transfer this eulogy to 
the love of Jesus. " Thy love to me was wonderful." 

II. The love of Christ to us is wonderful because there 
was nothing in us loving. 

We love that which loves us. Such is our nature. 
Love sees its own face reflected in the heart of another 
as in water at the bottom of a well. We cannot 

The Love of Christ. 163 

resist what loves us, it matters not who or what it is — 
though but the dog that barks and bounds and 
wheels in joyous circles around us on our return, 
the first to welcome and foremost to defend. I would 
hold his friendship cheap who did not love a dog 
who loved him, and care little for a child who would 
not drop some tears on the grave of his humble but 
faithful playmate. Let a poor dumb creature love 
us and we are drawn to it in return by a law of 
nature as irresistible and divine as that which draws 
a stone to the ground or makes the stream flow 
onward to the sea. Whatever secrets this fact may 
unlock, whatever strange and singular marriages it 
may explain, it does not open the mysteries of Cal- 
vary, it does not explain the love of Christ. I have, 
indeed, seen some that had abandoned themselves 
to a life of vice who still respected virtue, and looked 
back with remorseful regret to their days of child- 
hood and the innocence of a father's home. I have 
seen a profligate son who though wringing a pious 
mother's heart and bringing her gray hairs with sor- 
row to the grave, yet loved her. Mourning his own 
failings, he returned her aff"ection ; yielding to sin, 
still he clung to his mother as a drowning wretch to 
a piece of the wreck which he hopes may float him 
to the shore. Now, if our love of goodness had sur- 
vived the loss of it, if we had retained any love to 
God after we had lost His image, if we had cast some 
lingering looks on Eden, and like Absalom felt 
pained at being two whole years in Jerusalem with- 
out being admitted into his father's presence; if we 

164 North Carolina Sermons. 

had been grieved at God's displeasure, with some 
goodly vestiges of primeval innocence, Christ's love to 
lis would not have been so wonderful. But there was 
no such feeling in man to awaken the love of Christ. 
Hateful man is by nature hating. I appeal to the 
unconverted: Do not your hearts prove that; and 
those who have been converted see it in the memory 
of those days, on wliich they now look back with hor- 
ror, wondering how, when they were in arms against 
God, trampling on His laws, despising His mercy, 
scorning His grace, He should have borne with them 
as He did. •' The carnal mind is enmity against 
God." " Herein is love indeed, not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us."' " God conimendeth his love to 
us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for 
us." And what is graven deep in our hearts and writ- 
ten so legibly on the pages of the Bible, I see in still 
more atfecting characters on the body of Him who sits 
throned in heaven. More than wounded for our trans- 
gressions, He was wounded by the hand of the trans- 
gressors. The nail prints on the hands that our Advo- 
cate holds up in prayer for us, and that scar on His 
side, were not the work of devils. Inflicted by the 
hands of men, they are the marks of a love that 
throws its arms around enemies ; the unloving as 
well as the unlovely, hatred as well as loathesome- 
ness. Oh ! for such love, let the shining throngs that 
stand before Him with crowns of glory and in the 
white robes of victors join the church on earth and 
weave these words into the anthems of the skies, 
"Thv love to us was wonderful." 

The Love of Christ. 165 

III, This love is wonderful in its expression. 

"Art thou in health, my brother? " was the way in 
which Joab saluted Amasa as he took him by the 
beard to kiss him, and the last words had not left 
his lips when he stabbed him to the heart. Smiting 
him under the fifth rib he passed on ; but not so 
with the people who followed Joab to battle. The 
sight arrested their attention, and they stood in gath- 
ering crowds gazing with surprise and horror upon 
Amasa, as victim of the basest cruelty he wallowed 
in his blood on the highway. Any dead body lying 
on the street would gather a crowd around it and 
stay the steps of the passers by. Exclamations of 
pity, of horror and dismay would break from many 
lips, while the question would pass from person to 
person. How did it happen? Who is he? Where 
did he live? Who are his friends? How would it 
move us, move the roughest among men, to see some 
trembling, bent, gray old man or distracted mother 
rush through the throng and fling themselves on the 
body with a shriek, a wild piercing cry, " Oh, my son ! 
my beloved son ! would I had died for thee, my son, 
my son ! " That stays the foot of man ; but a sight is 
here that might have stayed an angel's wing and filled 
both heaven and earth with wonder. Who is this? 
Hear, oh heavens, and be astonished, oh earth ! By 
the cross, where He died, the ear of faith catches the 
voice of the Eternal : " This is my beloved Son." He, 
then, who is buffeted by cruel hands and meekly 
bears the blows; who faints from loss of blood and 
sinks beneath His cross; who hangs upon the tree 

lGt> North Carolina Sermons, 

while the blood streams from His hands and feet; 
whose dying ear is filled, not with holy prayers, but 
with the shouts and mockery of an im{)ious crew — He, 
hanging- mangled and lifeless on the middle cross, 
with head dropped on His breast, the palor of death 
spread over His cheek, the seal of death on His lips, 
the film of death on His eyes, is the Son of God ! The 
Prince of Life has become the prey of death — at once 
its noblest victim and Almighty Conqueror. How did 
it happen ? One word conveys the answer. That word 
is love, love to sinners, to the greatest, guiltiest sin- 
ners. Love brought Him from the skies. Love made 
Mary His mother. Love shut Him in Joseph's tomb. 
Love wove the cords that bound His hands. Love 
forged the nails that fastened Him to the cross. Love 
wept in His tears, breathed in His sighs, spake in His 
groans, flowed in His blood and died upon His cross. 
Oh I it is impossible to stand beside that cross, with its 
noble, bleeding, divine burden, and not address that 
dear, sacred body, saying : Tiiy love to me, a poor sin- 
ner, an ill-doing and hell-deserving sinner, a guilty 
and graceless, a hating and hateful sinner, was w^on- 
derful, passing the love of women, passing the love of 
angels, passing any tongue to tell, passing figures to 
illustrate or fancy to imagine, thought to measure or 
eternity itself to praise. There is a custom in the 
East for one man to express his friendship lor another 
by presenting him with rich and costly vestments, 
by taking his own robe and putting it on him. I 
have seen it related how the Emperor of Erance hav- 
ing marked the dauntless bravery of a soldier in the 

The Love of Christ. 167 

very thick and whirlwind of the fight, took his own 
Cross of the Legion of Honor, and in the enthusiasm 
of his admiration fixed it upon the brave man's 
breast. In harmony with such custom, the Scripture 
tell us that Jonathan stripped himself of the robe 
that was on him and gave it to David, even to his 
sword, his bow and his girdle. And when that shep- 
herd boy, having doffed his homely attire, now stands 
before the court and camp and king appareled as a 
prince we have a faint image of what Jesus does for 
us. The Son of God denuded Himself of His visi- 
ble glory, and, as it were, exchanged vestments with 
us. Taking our nature, He put on our shame that 
He might a[)parel us in His glory. What an ex- 

Oh, yes, my Vjrother, with a crown of thorns He 
purchases for us an immortal crown, and ascends 
the cross that we might ascend the skies. In illus- 
tration, also, of the love of Jonathan we are told 
that he said to David, " Whatsoever thy soul desireth 
I will do for thee." The very language Christ ad- 
dresses to His people. He cannot withhold anything 
from those who love Him. How can He? It were 
unreasonable to believe it. If He never said to any 
of the sons of men seek ye my face in vain, will 
he not give us all needed blessings. Nor has He 
promised anything where He lacks either the will or 
the ability to do. Jonathan's was a large and loving- 
hearted promise, but alas! the day came when the 
heart that loved and the hand that would have 
helped David were cold in death. " Thy love to me 

168 North Carolina Sermons. 

was wonderful." Bitter thought — it was a thing in the 
past — a sacred memory ! No more. The arrows of 
the Philistine had drunk up that love. The iron 
mace of war had shattered that fountain. It lay 
empty and dry. The ear into w^iich David had 
ofttimes poured his sorrow w^as heavy in death. The 
heart that loved him had ceased to beat. Jonathan 
was gone — dead and gone — and all that was left was 
the memory of joys, never, never to return. He 
should see his face no more. So he flung himself 
on his bloody grave crying, " I am distressed for thee, 
my brother Jonathan, the beauty of Israel is slain 
on his high places. Thy love to me was wonderful, 
passing the love of women!" 

How much happier the circumstances the lover of 
Jesus. He is no broken cistern, but a fountain, ever 
full and flowing. His name, "I am he that liveth 
and was dead." The angels guard an empty tomb 
and dr}^ up the woman's tears, saying, " He is not 
here— He is risen." From the Cross that held Him, 
and the sepulchre that tombed Him, we rise in imag- 
ination to follow his track along the starry skies, 
onward to the gate of heaven, and still on and still 
up, thro' lines of shouting angels, to the Throne of 
the Eternal. He is there now, and changing the 
tense, as we behold Him forgiving our daily sins, 
supplying our daily wants, pouring down daily bless- 
ings on our heads, we say not Thy love to me was, 
but Thy love to me is wonderful. And never till 
we ourselves have passed in at heaven's gate and 
behold its lofty thrones and shining ones, the glory 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 169 

which Jesus has with the Father and shares with 
His brethren ; never, till the palm of victory is in 
our own hands, and blood-bought crown is on our own 
heads ; never, till we walk the streets that are paved 
with gold, and join the songs that are as the noise 
of many waters, shall we sufficiently understand 
what we owe to the love of Christ. How justly we 
may address to Him these words, ''' Thy love to me 
was wonderful." 

" Oh for such love let rocks and hills 
Their lasting silence break, 
And all harmonious human tongues 
Their Saviour's praises speak! 

Angels, assist our mighty joys, 
Strike all your harps of gold — 
But when you raise your highest notes, 
His love can ne'er be told ! " 

By Rev, F. L. Reid, D. D., 

Editor Raleigh Christian Advocate. 

" Ye are the salt of the earth." Matt, v: 13. 

"That He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having 
spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it sliould be holy and 
without blemish." Ephesians v: 27. 

The theme to which we propose calling your atten- 
tion is the duty and destiny of the church. 

The duty of the church is clearly set forth in the 
first text, " Ye are the salt of the earth," and the des- 
tiny of the church is embodied in the second text, 

170 North Carolina Sermons. 

" That He might present it unto Himself," etc. So 
that taking the two together, we have the theme 
announced for the hour. The church, figuratively 
speaking, is God in the world — in other words God 
manifests Himself to the world through the church. 
It is true that a God is manifest in Nature. When 
we open the great volume of Nature we learn some- 
thing of a God, see Him lifting Himself up in the 
majestic mountains, whose tops tower towards the 
heavens as if to furnish a path through the skies; we 
we may see Him as He makes of the storm-cloud a 
chariot and comes thundering down to earth upon 
wheels of wind, flashing the lightnings of heaven 
across His pathway ; we may take the astronomer's 
glass and scan the crystal skies, shining to His praise, 
and catch a glimpse of God in every rolling orb and 
flashing star. 

" The restless globe of golden light 
Whose beams create our days, 
May join the silver queen of night 
And chant Jf .lovah's praise. 

While monsters sporting on the flood, 

In scaly silver shine. 
Speak terribly their maker God, 

And lash the foaming brine." 

But with all these manifestations of God's grandeur 
and power, man would have forever wandered into 
infidelity and idolatry if God had not revealed Him- 
self through His church. " The surging seas, in their 
eternal roar, might forever shout to the Lord," the 
shrill birds might forever raise His honors high as 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 171 

they climb the morning sky, every dew-drop might 
flash the light of His countenance forever, every 
flower might breathe the odor of His precious name, 
every zephyr might whisper it through the trees, and 
with all these grand and beautiful manifestations of 
God's power man would forever wander in darkness, 
ignorant of the essential character of the Almighty, 
Man could have learned something of God's power 
in Nature, but if God had not manifested Himself as 
He has in and through His church man would never 
have known God aright, " whom to know aright is 
life eternal." Hence the remark that God manifests 
Himself to the world through the church. God 
made the world for the church and He made the 
church for the world. It was no accident that the 
world was made, nor was it any accident that the 
church was founded in the world. 

God made the world beautiful, pure and holy, 
man robbed it of much of its beauty and brought the 
curse of sin upon it ; then God made the church to 
save the world, and in this t-ense the church is the , 
salt of the earth, it has the saving property. The 
great object of the church is to save, it is the salt that 
seasons and saves — it must not only save, but it must 
seasen, so to speak — it must give tone and flavor and 

I remark first, then, that in order that the church 
may be the salt of the earth it must have the savor. 
Or, in other words, in order to accomplish its mission 
in the world, the church must give a practical illus- 
tration of what it teaches in the lives of its members — 

172 North Carolina Sermons. 

the salt, in order to season and save, must have the 
seasoning and saving quality — it must have its 
savor; if it have not the savor it is good for noth- 
ing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot 
of men. 

The world will never believe that the church can 
make men holy and happy until it sees the church 
do it. The church may profess to do it, but just as 
long as its members fail to be holy and happy, just 
so long will the world refuse to believe that the 
church can do it. A physician may profess to be 
able to cure a certain disease, and he may advertise 
that he can do it, but the quickest way in the world to 
make people believe what he says is to cure the dis- 
ease, then he gives unmistakable evidence that he can 
do what he says he can. The same principle applies 
to the church. The best way to make sinners believe 
that there is a realit}^ in our religion is to show that 
there is in our daily lives. It is hard to make the 
world believe that the religion of the Lord Jesus 
Christ will make a man pure and pious as long as 
men who profess to have it indulge in all kinds of 
sinful, worldly amusements. It is hard to make the 
world believe that religion will keep a man from 
drinking liquor as long as men who profess to have it 
go into bar-rooms and drink. It is hard to get the 
world to believe what the Bible teaches in reference 
to the training of children, until Christian parents 
train their children properly. It is difficult to make 
the world believe that our religion makes a man 
honest and upright, while members of the church 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 17.3 

cheat and defraud, and "take short cuts," as the 
world terms it. In a word, the great thought I wish to 
impress is this: If the church ever saves the world, it 
must first show the world that is saved itself. In my 
judgment, the greatest hindrance to the progress of 
Christianity to-day is the want of consistency and 
consecration on the part of the great majority of 
professing Christians. The preachers may preach 
with the power of an angel, but if they and the peo- 
ple do not practice the principles of the gospel it will 
never prevail. 

In view of these facts, the great and most serious 
question for us to consider is this: Is the church pre- 
pared to accomplish its work in the world? Has 
the salt the savor? Has the church purity of 
heart and piety of life sufficient for the conquests 
that God designed it to make? And a still more 
practical, searching, personal question for each one 
of us to make is this: Am I prepared, by a pare 
heart and a pious life, to do my part of the great 
work God has given His church to do? Here is the 
great starting point. Until the church has this purity 
of heart and piety of life in its membership, it can- 
not be the salt of the earth ; but, having it, it is pre- 
pared for its great work, which is: 

To save the world from civil ruin. The church has 
a great deal more to do in influencing civil affairs 
than most people imagine. This nation, and every 
other civilized nation, owes the greater part of its 
civilization to the influence of the church. The 
church is the salt of the earth, in a civil sense. Why, 

174 North Carolina Sermons. 

you just take the church and all religious influences 
out of the country, and what would it be ? Just take 
all the influence of our holy religion out of a town, 
and what would it be? In two years you couldn't 
get even a respectable sinner to live in such a place. 
That sinner who scoff's at the church and refuses to 
support the gospel, owes the safety of his own life 
and property to the influence of the church on civil 
affairs. Even ten righteous men would have saved 
the wicked city of Sodom. Who knows how many 
severe judgments the righteous people of the country 
have averted ? There is wickedness enough in the 
civil life of this land to crush it, and who knows but 
that God has spared it because of the righteous men 
and women in it? 

But the main point I wish to impress under this 
head is, that the church ought to exert its influence 
to work a reformation in civil affairs. Just at this 
time it is greatly needed. Now, I do not believe in 
involving the church in partisan politics. I think 
the church ought to keep entirely aloof from parti- 
san political entanglements. At the same time, I do 
think the influence of the religion of Jesus Christ 
ought to be felt in all our civil affairs; that it ought 
to permeate and shape all our public concerns. It 
ought to be the salt that seasons our civil life and 
saves us from civil ruin. I repeat, such an influence 
is greatly needed. It is enough to make the heart 
of a good man sick to look upon the condition of 
civil affairs in this country. Nihilism, communism, 
and many other pernicious isms are prevalent. There 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 175 

is a spirit of unrest, disquietude and discontent, 
which seems to foreshadow some great change. Pub- 
lic feeling is about to cut loose from its old fastenings 
and, without any well defined plans, is seeking some- 
thing new and different. The political ties that have 
bound men together heretofore are weakening. Men 
have less resjiect for law and government than for- 
merly, and all this presages great good, or it presages 
great evil. Which it will be, in my opinion, depends 
upon the influence which the church exerts upon 
our civil life; and the great question of the hour is. 
Has the church sufficient moral and religious influ- 
ence to save the country from civil ruin? Mere in- 
tellectual culture will not do it ; mere legislation will 
not cure our ills. It is useless to expect intellectual 
culture or legislation to cure our ills. These have 
their uses and are important, but work no change in 
the moral character of men. We need more than 
intellectual culture or worldly legislation — we need 
moral training, religious influence, the observance and 
administration of sound moral law, the exercise of 
heathful, moral discipline in our churches in regard 
to both preachers and people. In the great struggle 
now going on in the world between truth and error, 
the powers of light and the powers of darkness, the 
lines between the contending forces should be dis- 
tinctly and clearly drawn, and every one put in his 
true position. Let those who are on the Lord's side be 
drawn in battle array. Let all who are disloyal in 
heart and life to Christ be put where they belong, 
and let a purged, purified church permeate our civil 

176 North Carolina Sermons. 

life with a sound, healthful, moral influence, center- 
ing all our culture in Christ, and basing all our leg- 
islation on the great law of love laid down in His 
life. Thus the church may be the salt of our civil 
life that will save us from impending ruin as a 

Again, the church must save us from social ruin. We 
certainly need sometliing to save us from social ruin. 
The foundations of our social fabric are being shaken. 
Society is filled with giant evils that threaten its 
destruction. Intemperance threatens to crush the 
very life out of American society. Our fair young 
ladies are too often the companions of drunkards. 
It is too frequently the case that when our fair daugh- 
ters are led as blushing brides to the matrimonial 
altar, they have there fixed upon them the stigma 
and misery of being a drunkard's wife. In almost 
every home of the land is a victim of intemperance. 
It stalks, like a great monster, through our land 
despoiling happy homes, crushing hearts into hope- 
lessness, beggaring thousands of our children, and 
burying 60,000 of our once noble men in drunkards' 
graves every year. 

The various familiar figures of the modern dance 
are about to drive all modesty out of society. There 
is enough fornication and adultery in this land to 
crush society. In almost every newspaper you pick 
up you read of some poor woman's ruin. Bad men 
and fast women, in some sections, are inaugurating 
a system of free-love-ism, and so-called woman's 
rights, that threaten great evil to our social life. 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 177 

Society lets the seducer pass current in its circles, and 
asks only of the man who knocks at its door, " How 
much is he worth ? " In social circles dollars pass 
for more than brains, or character, or culture. It is 
only here and there that we can find remnants of 
the old-time refined, cultured, social life. Coarseness 
and vulgarity are prevalent and popular. We need 
a reformation. We need an influence to check all 
this looseness and lasciviousuess in society. The 
church of God must come to the rescue. The church 
must breathe upon all this impurity a purer atmos- 
phere ; it must hold up a higher type of manhood 
and womanhood. The church of God must take 
hold of society and drive out all these drunkards 
and slanderers and adulterers and adulteresses and 
fornicators, and raise the standard of social life 
higher, and teach men and women to be purer and 
more refined and elevated in their thoughts, feelings, 
words and actions. Society needs purifying. There 
is no use to try to conceal the fact. You know it, 
and I know it. Unless the church does it, it will 
not be done. Here is a great work for the church to 
do. In this way the church may prove to be the 
salt of our social life, and may save us from impend- 
ing social ruin. 

I remark, in the next place, that the church must 
save the world from spiritual ruin. So far we have been 
considering the work of the church as it affects us in 
our temporal welfare, but the great and grand work 
of the church is to save the world from spiritual ruin. 
If it stops short of this, it is a great failure. The last 

178 North Carolina Sermons. 

message that fell from the lips of the ascending Lord 
to the church, gathered at His feet, was, " Go ye into 
all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." 
In this is embodied the great duty of the church. It 
was to go into all the world, beginning at Jerusalem. 
Are we doing this ? Are we beginning even at Jeru- 
salem? Are we doing this work at home? Men 
and women are dying and going to hell right around 
us every day. Are we making proper efforts to save 
them ? In many of your homes, sitting at your own 
fireside and by your own dining-table, are men and 
women on the road to an eternal hell, some of them 
are your own children, bone of your bone and flesh 
of your flesh, and yet you have never spoken to them 
on the subject of personal religion ; never made a 
personal effort for their salvation ; never called them 
around a family altar for prayer; never an effort to 
save your own household. There is great need for 
the beginning of this great work at home. 

We must begin at home, but we cannot stop there. 
The charity that begins arid remains at home is no 
charity at all. In connection with these efforts to 
save those right around us, the church must gird 
itself for the conquest of the world. The world is 
open. . All the church has to do now is to march in 
and conquer. In the last fifty years the church has 
made rapid strides toward spreading the gospel 
throughout the world. Fifty years ago missionary 
societies and missionary operations were few and 
weak, now they are a power felt all over the world. 
Fifty years ago two-thirds or three-fourths of the pop- 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 179 

ulation of the earth were closed against the mission- 
aries of the cross, now the world is open, and mis- 
sionaries and missionary stations may be numbered 
by the tens of thousands, and the Bible is translated 
and read in hundreds of languages. The English 
language and English literature are being carried to 
almost every nation on earth, and the British, For- 
eign and American Bible Societies, like the Apoca- 
lyptic angel, are flying through the earth bearing 
the everlasting gospel to a lost and ruined race. God 
is using all these modern improvements and increased 
facilities for intercommunication for the spread of 
the gospel and the salvation of souls; and if the 
church will only rise up in all its strength and God- 
given power and push its great work, e'er long the 
shout will be heard in heaven and on earth: "Alle- 
lujah, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, and the 
kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms 
of our Lord and his Christ." Then will the church be 
prepared for its final grand destiny, as intimated in 
our second text : " That he might present it unto him- 
self a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, 
or any such thing, but that it should be holy and 
without blemish." 

The church is to have this grand triumph sooner 
or later. I know not when, but it will come. Bishop 
Marvin, in one of his sermons, says he thinks the 
church is now in its infancy — that God has a grand 
career, extending through many years yet, for His 
church. He does not think that God would take 
four thousand years in which to prepare the church 

180 North Carolina Sermons. 

for the coming of Christ, and give it only a little over 
two thousand years to enjoy the fruits of His coming. 
I know not how this may be, and nobod}^ else, not 
even the angels in heaven know about it. These 
men that are telling so glibly when the end of the 
world will come know nothing about it, and only 
make themselves ridiculous when they claim to 
know such things. But we do know that the 
church will conquer the world for Christ, and that 
He will some day present it to Himself " a glorious 
church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such 
thing." Oh ! what a grand destiny ! A glorious 
church to be presented to a more glorious God ! A 
glorious church ! Glorious in achievement ! It is 
enough to make the heart of the Christian swell with 
a laudable pride when he studies the history of the 
church and sees what it has already accomplished in 
the world. When he begins and reads of Abraham 
and Isaac and Jacob, of Joseph, of the Israelites, of 
the patriarchs, of the prophets, of Paul and Peter 
and John ; of James and Stephen, and the martyrs 
of the past ; of heroes of the sixteenth century, and 
on down to the present, what a glorious record he 
finds, and how it stirs his heart ! With what stately 
steppings has God moved in the history of the church! 
But the achievements of the church are to be more 
glorious and grander still. God is pushing His 
church out into the heathen world and pressing the 
conflict everywhere. The almost miraculous prog- 
ress of missionary work is the wonder of this age 
Ere long a band of missionaries will come from the 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 181 

Eastern world and hang China, and Japan, and 
Hindoostan and the remainder of Asia as a trophy 
upon the cross of Christ ; and another band will soon 
come and hang Egypt, and Ethiopia, and Liberia, 
and Guinea, and the remainder of Africa as a trophy 
upon the cross ; another band will come and hang 
Greece, and cruel Turkey, and down-trodden Ireland, 
and Rome-cursed Italy, and the remainder of Europe 
as a trophy upon the cross ; still another band of mis- 
sionaries will bring Brazil, and Venezuela, and the 
remainder of South America, and another band will 
bring the West Indies, and Mexico, and all North 
America, and yet another band will bring Oceanica, 
and all the Isles of the Sea as trophies to the cross, 
and then the work of the church militant will be 
complete, and all the inhabitants of North and South 
America, and of Europe, and Asia, and Africa, and 
Oceanica will join in earth's last grand doxology, and 
the Son of God shall spread His blessed hands and 
pronounce the last benediction upon earth's assem- 
bled multitude, and the Apocalyptic angel, taking 
his position in the sun, shall cry with a loud voice: 
"Come and gather yourselves togetherunto the supper 
of the Great God." The church militant will then 
be changed into the church triumphant, and the 
grand presentation spoken of in the text will be made. 
Brethren, that will be a grand presentation day ! It 
was a grand day when God, by a word, made this 
beautiful earth and flashed light into it and flung it 
into its orbit and sent it on its great mission; it was 
a grand day when in the midst of fire and smoke 

182 North Carolina Sermons. 

and cloud and thunder and lightning God came down 
upon the mount and gave His law to man ; it was a 
grand day when the angels chanted the natal song 
and shepherds worshiped and wise men bowed 
before the infant Redeemer; it was a grand sad day 
when from Calvary's cross came the cry, " It is fin- 
ished ! " as the cloud which had hung over Sinai 
floated around o'er Calvary's mount and " burst into 
a shower of the Saviour's tears ; " it was a grand day 
when He led them out as far as Bethany and 
ascended in triumph to enter the opening gates and 
doors of the celestial city, His work of redemption 
complete, but it will be a still grander day than all 
these when the last battle of the cross has been 
fought, the world brought to Christ, and the glorified 
church, having conquered the world, comes with its 
trophies to be presented, without spot or wrinkle, to 
the blessed Son of God, as the grand results of His 
death and resurrection. This is the day for which 
all other days were made. 

In imagination, I can see the hosts of the redeemed 
gathering about the great white Throne. Abraham 
and all the Old Testament worthies are there, and 
all the faithful from the time of Adam down to the 
last syllable of time. They are clothed in garments 
of white, with crowns of rejoicing upon their brows, 
and golden harps suspended on their arms, and palms 
of victory in their hands. What a mighty throng! 
They are perfectly tremulous with joy. I would like 
to get near enough to hear what they are saying. 
Poor old afflicted Jacob, from whose wearied heart 

The Duty and Destiny, etc. 183 

here was wrung the cry, "All these things are against 
me," has changed his tone and now exclaims, " All 
these things are for me"; Job now really knows that 
his Redeemer liveth ; Jeremiah's lamentations have 
been turned into songs of rejoicing; David's plain- 
tive strains are changed to gladsome hallelujahs ; 
Paul still triumphantly shouts, "Thanks be unto 
God which giveth us the victory "; John Wesley now 
realizes that " the best of all is God is with us," and 
Charles Wesley sings more beautifully than ever — 

" Jesus, the name high over all, 
In hell, or earth, or sky — 
Angela and men before it fall. 
And devils fear and fly." 

And there I see one who was a poor, poverty- 
stricken woman in this world, lived on a dirt floor, 
in rags, and went through this world with weeping 
eyes and a saddened heart — now God has clothed her 
in robes of light, wiped all tears from her eyes, thrown 
into her heart the sunlight of eternal joy, and she 
triumphantly walks upon the golden streets — happy 
forever more ! 

Oh, what a grand, happy host to be presented to 
the Son of God ! They are gathered up there. The 
wilderness and the solitary places have been glad 
for them — the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as 
the rose — the eyes of the blind have been opened — 
the ears of the deaf have been unstopped — the lame 
man is leaping as a hart — the tongues of the dumb 
are singing, and the ransomed of the Lord have 

184 North Carolina Sermons, 

returned and gone home to Zion with songs and ever- 
lasting joy upon their heads — they have obtained 
joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing have for- 
ever flown away. 

" No more fatigue — no more distress, 
Nor sin, nor hell shall reach the place; 
No sighs shall mingle with the songs 
Which warble from immortal tongues. 

No rude alarms of raging foes. 
No cares to break the long repose; 
No midnight shade — no clouded sun. 
But sacred, high, eternal noon. 

O! long expected day begin, 
Dawn on this world of woe and sin ; 
Fain would we leave this weary road. 
And sleep in death to rest with God." 


By Rev. E. C. Sell, 
Of the North Carolina Conference M. B. C, S. 

" I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day : the 
night cometh, when no man can work."— St. John ix:4. 

Our Saviour was in the form and possessed the 
features of man; but while He resembled man in 
this particular, He was unlike man in the perform- 
ance of His duty. During His stay on earth He left 
nothing undone which should have been done, and 
nothing unsaid which should have been said, but 
did and said all things that were necessary in order 

Work While it is Day. 185 

to accomplish the great work which He was sent to 
do. And when "the night" had come, and when 
He was hanging between heaven and earth, suffer- 
ing the agonies of death, He did not say to the mob, 
spare me another year, or another month, or another 
day; I have not done as I should have done, "the 
work of him that sent me." Release me that I may 
restore the blind to sight and heal the palsied limb. 
Let me go that I may cast out devils and raise the 
dead. No, no; He did not say, let me go that I may 
work more miracles, and, by these demonstrations of 
divine power, show to the world that I have come 
from the eternal throne on high down to this sinful 
world "to seek and to save that which was lost." 
But what did He say? Listen. Before "he bowed 
his head and gave up the ghost." Hush! Stand 
still one moment, ye busy tribes of earth, and catch 
the words of the dying Lord — " It is finished !" 

We, too, have a work to do. We have souls to 
save — immortal souls that will exist forever. 0, 
where will these immortal souls of ours be when a 
portion of eternity equal to a million times a mil- 
lion years has passed by, after the archangel's trump 
wakes our silent dust, and our souls and bodies are 
again united and sent to an everlasting abode? They 
will be in the presence of God enjoying the happi- 
ness of heaven, or they will be in the presence of 
the devil suffering the torments of hell. The value! 
the value! 0, the value of one soul! But where 
we will be depends upon ourselves. Our Saviour 
did His "work." The atonement has been made. 

186 North Carolina Sermons. 

The plan of salvation stands completed. A way has 
been opened, thank God, for all who will to go up to 
" the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
and to an innumerable company of angels." 

But let us come nearer home. Let us be honest 
with ourselves. Let each one of us sincerel}'' and 
prayerfully ask ourselves these questions : How is 
the case with me? Have I been "born again"? (St. 
John iii : 7) and am I at peace with God and all 
mankind ? Have I done what I could to rescue those 
around me who are living in sin and going to hell ? 
Have I co-operated with the minister of the gospel 
and the people of God, as I should, in their great 
work of trying to build up Zion and win souls to 
Christ? Have I contributed; according to my abil- 
ity of the means that God has given me, to support 
the gospel at home ? Have I, with my money, ex- 
tended a helping hand to the poor benighted heathen 
who know not the true God ? Have I done my whole 
duty as God would have me do it, and do I, this 
moment, stand acquitted before Him, in the sunlight 
of His favor, and with His love burning in my soul? 
And, after asking ourselves these questions, if we 
find that we have come short; if we find that we 
have failed to do our duty, and are "wanting" (Dan. 
v: 27), let us get down on our knees and pray to a 
merciful God for pardon. Let us wrestle, like Jacob, 
till the sun of righteousness shines into our souls, 
and Jesus whispers, " Peace"; and then let us go on 
and do what we can to win immortal souls to Christ. 

The night of death is coming. What is the hour 
of the day of life? Which way do the shadow 

Eternal Life. 187 

point? Where is the sua? Is it climbing up to- 
ward the zenith ? Has it already reached the merid- 
ian? Is it "bending low," or has it almost reached 
the horizon ? Will it set this year? Will it set this 
month? Will it set to-day? God in heaven can 
answer these questions. 

Should God look down from His throne to-day — 
yea, this hour — and say " This night thy soul shall 
be required of thee," could you say " My work is 
done; I am ready to go home and receive my reward"? 
or would you have to say " Lord, my work is not 
done ; I am not read}' to die ; spare me, spare me a 
little longer, and I will do what Thou wouldst have 
me do." 

But remember, when "the night" comes, when 
the angel of death comes, we must go, ready or un- 
ready. Good Lord, help us all to be ready ! 

Think about this ; pray over it ; do thy work now 
" while it is day," for the night is coming " when no 
man can work." 

By Rev. Solomon Lea, 

Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 

" He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life." John iii : 36. 

There are three leading thoughts to which our 
attention is invited, namely, the Son, faith and life. 
Who and what is the Son? Lie is the Lord Jesus 
Christ, called the Son of God and the Son of Man, 

188 North Carolina Sermons. 

uniting mysteriously in Himself two natures, the hu- 
man and divine. That He is human, is clearly dem- 
onstrated by the manner of His birth, His whole his- 
tory and His death. As a human being He ate, 
drank, walked, talked and worked. He had a hu- 
man body, with its properties and faculties, bone of 
our bone, flesh of our flesh, our sympathizing friend 
and our elder brother. He was emphatically a hu- 
man being, having our nature, with sin excepted. As 
a man He was the most perfect, the most lovely and 
the most unselfish being that ever existed. There 
was not a defect, a blemish, a stain in His nature and 
character. That He is divine, as the Son of God, is 
proved beyond all doubt by His life. His miracles and 
His teaching. As the Son of God the Father, He 
has His nature. His character and His attributes. 

He is represented in the Scriptures as the Creator, 
the Preserver and Disposer of all things in heaven and 
«arth. The inspired apostle says: " In the beginning 
was the word and the word was with God and the 
word was God. The same was in the beginning with 
God. All things were made by Him, and without 
Him was not anything made that hath been made. 
In Him was life and the life was the light of men." 
" For in Him were all things created, in the heavens 
and upon the earth, things visible and things invisi- 
ble, whether thrones or dominions or principalities 
or powers ; all things have been created through 
Him and unto Him, and His before all things, and 
in Him all things consist." With such declarations, 
and many others that might be quoted, who can 

Eternal Life. 189 

doubt the divinity of the Sou of God ? The Epistle 
of Hebrews seems mainly designed to prove the 
superiority and divinity of Christ Jesus our Lord. 
And yet tliere are denominations and many pro- 
fessed Christian people who doubt and even deny the 
divinity of Jesus Christ. The great Apostle of the 
Gentiles, in all his epistles, usually begins with this 
declaration, " Grace to you from God, our Father, and 
the Lord, Jesus Christ." We worship Jesus Christ, 
which would be idolatry if He is not divine. The Son 
is the object of our faith, not only as a human and 
divine being, but He is especially so as our atoning 
sacrifice, as the Lamb of God that taketh away the 
sin of the world. The Apostle says God forbid " that 
I should glory save in Jesus Christ and Him cru- 

" As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, 
even must the Son be lifted up, that whosoever 
believeth in Him might not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." As sinners, we are conscious of sin, of 
our guilt, our danger and loss ; we look to the cross, 
the bleeding and suff'ering victim, and as we gaze and 
believe, the burden of guilt is taken away,!peace and 
comfort spring up. Oh ! what a change. From 
condemnation to justification, from sorrow to joy, 
from darkness to light, from the child of the devil to 
the son of God. No wonder we love, we praise, we 
adore the blessed Jesus. 

The second leading thought is^Faith. It admits of 
different kinds and of different degrees. 

Historical faith is simply credence or belief in 
some fact or event that has occurred. Evangelical 

190 North Carolina Sermons. 

or saving faith is not only credence, but much more ; 
it is confidence, reliance, a personal trust in God our 
Father, and Jesus Christ our Saviour. Such a faith 
is always accompanied with love and obedience. Is 
faith the gift of God ? In one view, it is. God gives 
us the object of our faith, and also the evidence of 
our faith, but the act of believing is our own, with 
God's preventing grace. Faith is of every possible 
degree, little faith, weak faith, great faith, strong 
faith. This depends upon many and various causes. 
It is susceptible of growth and expansion and culti- 
vation. Reading and studying the Scriptures, med- 
itation and intense agonizing prayer have a tendency 
to increase and strengthen our faith. Who and 
what can limit our faith? It is a mighty power; it 
grasps the promises and power of God, upheaves 
mountains, stops the sun in his course, and works 
mighty miracles. The Scriptures abound with illus- 
trations and examples of its power. 

The third leading idea in our text is Life — eternal 
life. There are different kinds of life — vegetable, 
animal, and spiritual life. Plants and trees have a 
life. Fluids and juices circulate through them. Ani- 
mals have life, the blood, its vital principle, circulat- 
ing through them. The life of a human being de- 
pends upon the union of the soul, the immortal 
principle, with the body. Separate the two, and he 
dies. So, in spiritual life, it depends upon its union 
with Christ. Faith is the connecting principle. 
Faith brings the' two parties together and cements 
and continues them. The Apostle says, " The live 
that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of 

The Gospel Call. 191 

God." As believers, we live by faith. Our text says 
not life only, but " eternal life." Its principle exists 
now, continues through life and is not severed by 
death. Death does not, nor cannot destroy this spir- 
itual life. No power in heaven or earth can separate 
us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. We may 
by our own conduct and commission of sin dissever 
the union and destroy this living principle. The 
Apostle exclaims, " Thanks be unto God who giveth 
us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Oh ! 
the pleasure, the enjoyment of this spiritual life ! 
Nothing on earth can equal it. It is cheering, com- 
forting, elevating. "It is sweeter than honey and 
the honeycomb." " Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, 
nor hath it entered into the heart of man, the things 
that God hath laid up for them that love him." And 
then its value! who can estimate it? Precious gold 
and sparkling diamonds cannot be compared with it. 
Let us praise and bless God our Father and the 
Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Amen. 


By Rev. Levi Branson, D. D., 
Secretary of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 

" And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth 
say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever •vrill, 
let him talie the water of life freely."— Revelation xxii : 17. 

Noah, the first commissioned preacher, was a mis- 
sionary without any fixed church, and without a 
salary; and while it would have been to the infinite 

192 North Carolina Sermons. 

interest of the people to have paid for the truth, and 
then to have profited by it, God did not commit the 
absurdity of either requiring or expecting them to 
purchase the message which condemned their wick- 
edness and announced their certain destruction. The 
race had suddenly, luilfully and utterly gone astray, 
and nothing but a sudden, wilful and sweeping 
destruction on the part of Deity could have awak- 
ened in man interest in or respect for the Supreme 
Ruler of the universe. 

While this first great missionary made not one con- 
vert among the mighty millions teeming down to 
the flood, he was yet much more successful than 
many of the nineteenth century, in that he brought 
off victoriously his own household. What an exam- 
ple for all succeeding preachers of the riches of the 
everlasting kingdom ! 

The world now began to learn of the existence 
and power of Deity. In due time the heavenly mes- 
sages of warning and peace were entrusted to a larger 
number of heralds, and the world was made alive 
by the glorious news of a Saviour to come; a Won- 
derful Counsellor, a Messianic Priest, the wonderful 
example of a priest for the world that should Him- 
self become the all-atoning sacrifice. 

But the church of God was only gradually estab- 
lished among men. Nor was the plan of salvation 
pressed too rapidly upon those to be saved, but so 
far as could be done, man was made instrumental 
in working out the plan. Hence he was given a 
priesthood long before he became a prophet, and 

The Gospel Call. 193 

many were installed as priests who were not yet fitted 
for the prophetic career. The priesthood of the Jew- 
ish church was a very different thing from the priest- 
hood or the ministry of the present day, in that it 
was a continued and laborious exemplification of the 
living sacrifice yet to be made in the person of Jesus; 
and all the daily performances of four thousand 
years were only sufficient to prepare the fallen mind 
for the comprehension of the great atonement. Only 
thus did men come plainly to understand that by 
the shedding of blood alone is there remission of 
sins. The prophets of olden times seem not always 
to have been priests, nor the priests always to have 
been prophets; but the priesthood was provided for 
by law, both as to its continuance and support, that 
there might always be before the people a remem- 
brance of ' the glorious things to come; but of 
prophecy, there was no legal organization and no 
legal provision for support. 

Here is a distinction not always noted, and one that 
may enlighten us as to the divine manner of propa- 
gating truth in the earth. 

In the earlier ages of Christianity the church was 
supposed to be but a continuance of the Levitical 
priesthood, and even to the present day, in all essen- 
tial points, except the mere shedding of beastly blood, 
this doctrine is held and practiced by the Romanists 
all over the world. This failure to see how Christ is 
a new dispensation; to see how the Christian minis- 
try is different from the old priesthood ; failure to 
see how the one was typical and legal, while the other 

194 North Carolina Sermons. 

is spiritual and persuasive, lias caused the innumera- 
ble evils in the union of Church and State, and led 
the Roman church to claim the political supremacy 
of the world. Christ established a spiritual king- 
dom, and sent out a spiritual ministry to enlist sub- 
jects for this kingdom. This ministry is worthy of 
temporal support always and everywhere, but such 
is the earnestness and the benevolence of the Master 
that He will not for a moment cease to have sinners 
called, even at His own expense and the individual 
expense of His lovely messengers. The Spirit spoken 
of in the text is the Great Teacher in the world since 
the Saviour's return to the heavenl}'- mansions. 

" The Spirit and the bride say, Come," and every 
message heralded by men or angels must be sealed 
by the Spirit sent by Christ before it can move suc- 
cessfully the stubborn hearts of men. 

The new dispensation is infinitely more liberal 
than men generally suppose, and the divine messen- 
gers vastly more numerous than the ancient priest- 
hood. The Spirit says come; thebride, or the church, 
says come. And now a word as to the church. Chris- 
tianity is essentially social in its nature, and hence 
extremely organizing. Wherever these truths of the 
New Testament are preached, men begin to organize 
for defence and for aggressive movement; but it is 
not organization that gives force to the gospel — it is 
the gospel that gives force to organization ; and it 
should never be trammeled by excessive organization. 

Methodism, a most wonderful organization induced 
by the spirit of Christianity, cannot live a day with- 

The Gospel Call. 195 

out spirituality, and no part of its machinery, whether 
it be the class-meeting, the prayer-meeting, the itin- 
eracy, or even the local ministry, can be relied on 
for the salvation of the church. All machinery is 
good, eminently good when full of the Spirit. The 
bride is beautiful when adorned, but she is a living 
power when filled with the fires of the Holy Ghost. 

The church, Christ's lovely bride, says come, most 
effectually when most infused with spirituality. Then 
not only the Spirit itself is a swift-winged messenger^ 
calling men from every clime and every station to 
drink of the living fountain, but the church in her 
organized and spiritualized capacity appeals in lovely 
attitude to the trembling, sinking sinner. 

Still more than this, every son or daughter hear- 
ing the Spirit, or hearing the bride say come, is com- 
missioned at once to catch the sweet command and 
echo it down the ages, till " come" shall be changed 
from a command to a hallelujah of praise, saying, 
" Lo ! they come with joy and everlasting songs." 

But over the hills and plains are found the millions 
of wandering thirsty children, athirst for the waters of 
life; parched and weak, weary and sinking, fainting 
by the wayside, fainting in the fields of strife, faint- 
ing in the crowded thoroughfares, fainting in the 
quiet homes, fainting amid those that should be 
friends; fainting, not from the scarcity of water, faint- 
ing, not of dire necessity but from wilful determin- 
ation, in the very midst of pearly brooks and crystal 
fountains, within the gladsome sound of life-giving 
waters, surrounded by cooling groves and shady 

196 North Carolina Sermons. 

lawns, the invigorating element above and below, on 
the right and on the left, behind and before ; the 
enchanting gospel sound falling softly upon the ear 
thus, "And let him that is athirst come" — "And let 
him that is athirst come." A standing invitation is 
given the sinner. Christ is not formal. Would you 
wait for the pious prayers of some mitred priest? 
Would you wait for the ceremonial flourish of some 
robed ritualist? Would you wait for the magic 
pool of some baptismal regenerationist in which to 
be plunged, and plunged again to have your stains 
ell washed away ? Or yet more slothful, would you 
wait for Lot's kind angel, or some electionist to seize 
and drag you to the fountain? No! no! dying sin- 
ner, no — 

" All the fitness Christ requireth, 
Is to feel your need of him." 

Come while you thirst, 

" If you tarry till you're better, 
You will never come at all." 

Oh ! lovely attitude of the heavenly messenger — 
stretching out inviting hands, weeping tears of pity 
for your lonely condition, enlightening the judg- 
ment, wooing the affections, but never, for a moment, 
trampling on the will, the guiding power of the mind. 
" And whosoever ivill, let him take of the water of 
life freely." How free is your condition ! How like 
the invitation to that of a father to his children — like, ' 
because it had no restriction but says " ivhosoever " ; 

The Gospel Call. 197 

like because it appeals to the will. " Whosoever will 
let him take the water of life freely." 

But for a moment let us take another view of the 
subject. Formerly the subject received life — now he 
is invited and commanded to take it of his own 
accord. Amid the darkness that preceded the flood, 
amid the direful influences of surrounding idolatry, 
from the flood down to Egypt, and from Egypt back 
to Canaan, now and then God sent His angels, as to 
Lot in Sodom, as to Jacob at Bethel, as to Abraham 
on the mount when about to plunge the knife into 
his own son— sent His angels in great mercy to give- 
life and protection ; and, indeed, the whole of the Old 
Testament is an example of the goodness of Deity 
pressed upon reluctant man. 

But suddenly the scene changes. Look, ye careless 
millions, across the grassy plains of Palestine. See 
high in the East that strange yet lovely star. Listen, 
ye shepherds that nightly watch your cheerful flocks 
on the moonlit plains of Judea. And while that star 
benignant shines down on Bethlehem, and while 
those white-robed angels come floating over the quiet 
plains, hear ye no electric news? See ye no signs of 
the world's great revolution ? 

That star has never yet gone down, but rises 
higher an«d higher to guide poor sinners home ; the 
songs of glory that burst forth upon the shepherds 
have never yet been hushed. That fountain opened 
there in the house of King David has never yet been 

198 North Carolina Sermons. 

From that very moment the command went forth 
" whosoever will let him come and take the water of 
life freely." It is a public festival — a national festi- 
val — a universal festival to which all may come 
and feast and drink and drink and feast until the 
gates of heaven shall be opened and the wine shall 
be poured out anew in our Father's kingdom. Was 
there ever such invitation? Was there ever such 
festival ? Did any other king ever invite his subjects 
to such a universal feast? In the Garden life was a 
tree of which man did eat and live ; now life is a foun- 
.tain, a river, along whose shady banks the weary sin- 
ner comes for peace — amid whose aromatic groves 
millions have rested and quaffed the stream and 
quaffed the stream and rested till inexpressible joy 
lifts the heart to the glories of the New Jerusalem. 
Blessed be Jesus, all may " take the water freely." 

How extensive, then, is the ministry ! Bishops 
may call us to the fountain, and we rejoice in the 
sound of such trumpets. Elders may sound the 
sweet refrain from the walls of Zion, and we hear it 
with gladness. Deacons may shout the harvest home, 
and sing with the enraptured hosts of God's children 
as they drink of the healing w^aters. The children that 
hear the enchanting melody may catch the glad 
sound and echo it down the living stream. Yea, 
sinners, too, far off upon the dark mountains of sin, 
may rush to the cooling waters, singing hosanna to 
the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain for us. The paid 
herald may invite to the fountain, the unpaid mis- 
sionary, bearing the heat and burden of the day, 

The Gospel Call. 199 

may call as loudly as any. The final settlement for 
all our labors is yonder amid the shady groves. 

The layman, by his daily walk and Godly conver- 
sation, is a messenger of peace, many of whom will 
appear at the stream with their families and neigh- 
bors to drink forever. And every woman may become 
a Martha or a Mary ministering to Christ and His 
flock. But who shall reap the immortal honors that 
shall be awarded the leaders of the Sabbath-school 
army — this host of little messengers that make the 
world echo with the songs of peace and gladness? In 
other days it was thought riglit and proper to let these 
lambs stray away into the wilderness for many years, 
that God's messengers might have work to do in call- 
ing them back to the flock. Alas ! how many mil- 
lions now still wander away from the voice of the 
heavenly messenger, and wandering on will never 
find the path that leads up Calvary's hill and brings 
the traveler in view of the all-atoning sacrifice. 

Christ designed that these lambs should not only 
be called to share the riches of His grace, but also to 
have them go forth singing and shouting the praises 
of the world's Redeemer. If we could consider the 
man Christ Jesus only as the infidels of the present 
day affect to view Him, a man simply as other great 
men, having His talents, His own peculiar wisdom, 
and His own peculiar history like other men, still 
we should be compelled to award the praise of highest, 
deepest wisdom, when at one stroke of policy He 
placed the entire infant world among the list of His 
subjects. " Of such is the kingdom." The children, 

200 North Carolina Sermons. 

embracing more than half the entire race of man, 
so long uncalled for, so long forgotten and neglected 
by great men, are gathered into the arms of the man 
Christ Jesus, enrolled on tiie list of the redeemed 
and sent forth as fit and lovely representatives of 
the white-robed millions that dwell around the 
Father's throne. " Out of the mouths of babes and 
sucklings, God has ordained praise." No other leader 
has so many ministers as our Captain; and those 
men who would strip the divinity from Christ, only 
show their utter ignorance, wickedness and stupidity. 

But our text breathes flaming words of missionary 
zeal. The cry is "Come," and as each listener hears 
the joyful invitation, he is commanded to echo it to 
to those around until all that thirst shall be filled 
with the free water of life. 

The age is hastening on to a glorious consumma- 
tion. Soon the era will be upon us when it shall 
not be inquired. Where is Christ, and who are His 
ministers? Those denominations that put only a 
paid force in the field and earnestly pray God to call 
only such and as many as can be supported, will 
soon be left in the dim distance of the past. 

Those that prate about apostolic succession, and 
would hardly invite the sinner only after the most 
formal introduction, and would shun to enter the 
gates of glory only in all the pomp and circumstance 
of a conqueror; these and all such must stand back 
and let the army of living messengers sweep the 
inviting field. 

The Gospel Call. 201 

The Methodist church, whatever faults she may- 
have in theology, whatever defects in the ritualism 
of her machinery, has, nevertheless, in some desira- 
ble measure caught the great liberal spirit of Chris- 
tianity. We recognize ever}"- man, woman and child 
of the church as a herald of the Cross ; and while 
we have our Bishops and pastors paid by the church, 
and must ever have them to develop the liberality 
of our people, the command of the text is too broad, 
the invitation too Jail to restrict the number of mes- 
sengers. The fires of a Saviour's love set all the 
world to preaching the wonderful doctrine. Oh! it 
is life awaits us. It is death we fear — it is life we 
seek. The water that fills that beautiful river, that 
comes like silvery waves down from the everlasting 
throne is the " water of life." Drink of it, ye thirsty 
sinners ; drink of it, ye royal heads of the earth ; 
drink of it, ye famished soldiers that fight the bat- 
tles of ambitious potentates ; drink, again, and deeper 
and longer, ye members of Christ's church militant; 
drink of it, ye little children that adorn the family 
circle and swell the Sabbath-school chorus till the 
welkin rings again ; drink of it, one and all of these, 
drink till you thirst no more forever. Yes, freely. It 
was given freely. It flows as the free gift of a free 
Saviour. Let no other duty intrude. Come, ye wasted 
famished swearer, polluted by the oaths of a score of 
years, and freely quaff the water ; come ye skeptics of 
many sorrowing days, who have failed to find joy in 
the logic of infidelity; we offer you to-day, " without 
money and without price," the healing water ; come. 

202 North Carolina Sermons. 

all ye young men and young ladies of undoubted 
morality, who have trusted in your good behavior to 
gain you entrance to glory — you, even you, need the 
life-giving water; and as you sink your empty pitch- 
ers into the stream, and as you taste and taste again, 
yes, drink and drink again of this magic flood, burst 
forth ye imprisoned soul ! sing out, ye stifled voices ! 
break forth, ye buried emotions of the soul ! Yes, then 
all earth, both men and God and angels and spirits 
and Christ will join to swell the everlasting song. 
Then you shall thirst no more. Oh, how free ! And 
now ye may warn travelers in Zion's way. Ye men 
of age, whose cheeks are furrowed with the cares of 
many years ; ye humble Christian men, who love 
beneath the cross to stand ; ye quiet sisters of the 
church, whose trials have been long and sore; ye 
young soldiers of Christ's living army, whose youth- 
ful cheeks are still flushed with hope and manly 
vigor — yes, come all these at the call of the silvery 
gospel sound. Come to-day ; come 7iow, and taste the 
limpid stream. 

We shall drink it forever up yonder. Now, while 
we lift our hearts to ask for golden drops and spirit- 
food for days to come, in one united emotion we will 
draw nigh the flowing stream. Yea, when we have 
filled our thirsty souls again here to-day, these self- 
sacrificing ministers, these faithful laymen of the 
church, these Marthas and Marys who love to anoint 
the Saviour's feet, these children of the church — all, 
all, all ! with sweet accord will go forth proclaiming 
the glorious news of the text, "And the spirit and 

Christ and the Church. 203 

the bride say come; and let him that heareth say 
come. And let him that is athirst come. And who- 
soever will, let him take the water of life freely." 


By Rev. W. W. Staley, 
Of the Christian Church. 

" I speak concerning Christ and tlie churcli." Ephesiaxs v: 32. 

The married state is one of separation, unity, order, 
affection. " For this cause shall a man leave his 
father and mother;" "and they two shall be one 
flesh;" " for the husband is the head of the wife!;" 
and " men ought to love their wives." 

These principles are the fountains of purity, peace 
and happiness. They^are the pillars on which the 
social fabric and civil nations rest. " This is a great 
mystery; " but Paul is speaking concerning " Christ 
and the church." The relation of the church to 
Christ is one of separation from the ivorld, unity among 
the members, order in life, and love one to another. All 
that the church has belongs to Christ, and all that 
Christ has belongs to the church. The relationship is 
mutual, and can only be maintained by fidelity on 
the part of the " Lamb's ivife.^' Mysteries disappear 
when truth is viewed from the inner courts of its 
own temple ; and experience is the only door into 
the relation between " Christ and the church." 

204 North Carolina Sermons. 

1. The entire volume of Scripture is divine speech con- 
cerning " Christ and the church." In that afternoon 
walk, with the twogoing to Emmaus, Jesus discoursed 
about Himself. " And beginning at Moses, and all 
the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the 
Scriptures, the things concerning Himself." " Search 
the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal 
life; and they are they which testify of me." ''For 
the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." 
" God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, 
spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 
hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." 

2. 7' he essential qualification of the true churchis the 
presence of Christ as its life and head. " This is He, 
that was in the church in the wilderness, with the 
angel which spake to Plim in Mount Sinai, and with 
our fathers ; who received the lively oracles to give 
unto us." " For they drank of that spiritual Rock 
that followed them, and that Rock was Christ." 
He is always the central figure in the church. " And 
there shall be no night there, and they need no can- 
dle, neither light of the sun ; for the Lord God giv- 
eth them light; and they shall reign forever and 

3. The church, in the conception of God, is ivorthy to 
become the bride of Christ. A great painting, as seen 
by an artist and one who is not, presents two pic- 
tures. To the artist the painting is a masterpiece, 
beautiful in design, significant in conception, won- 
derful in outline, perfect in proportions; to the other 
it is only a mass of colors thrown together,[with no 

Christ and the Church. 205 

charm, no purpose, no meaning. A sinful world 
sees only the faults and failures, the imperfections 
and inconsistencies of the church. God sees His 
design, His purpose, His ivork, in her possibilities. 
Michael Angelo was seen to pull a rough block of 
marble from the filthy gutter, and he was criticised 
by those who looked on. But the great artist said: 
'' I see an angel in this stone ; " and he went to work 
with his chisel and brought the angel out of it. He 
saw what others did not, and he developed what he 
saw. God looks at the church and sees possibilities; 
and if the church will submit to Him, He will bring 
out and present to Himself a " glorious church, not 
having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but holy 
and without blemish J' 

I. The Christ of Scripture is the personal manifestation 
of all the divinest and humanest principles essential 
to the noblest cJiaracter and the b(st society. 

1. He sets before men, in Himself, His nature, char- 
acter, and ivork. He presents the divine nature and 
the human nature at the climacteric point. " God 
was manifested in the flesh." At the marriage in 
Cana Christ " manifested forth His glory." His 
character was untarnished by the world. " For He 
hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin ; 
that we might be made the righteousness of God in 
Him." Artists place before their pupils a perfect 
piece of art, reduced to dimensions suited to their 
work, and call it a "study." Christ is "the study" 
for man. He is the miniature of God, with a human 

206 North Carolina Sermons. 

life as the medium of the Divine manifestation. 
" Learn of me," sums up man's duty in his search 
after spiritual light and truth. " In whom are hid all 
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." His work 
embraces no less than the comfort of the mourner and 
the salvation of the lost. " He came not to call the 
righteous, but sinnersy In the synagogue in Nazareth 
on the Sabbath, He stood up, opened the book and 
read: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because 
He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the 
poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to 
preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of 
sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are 
bruised" This outline of His work challenges the 
thought and faith of the world. He proposes to 
alleviate all the burdens of man, and to remove the 
guilt of sin from all that believe in Him. His work 
is so broad, so philanthropic, so full of salvation, , 
that the white-robed throng in heaven surround his 
throne with the highest and holiest praise. "And I 
heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, 
and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice 
of mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah: for the 
Lord God omnipotent reigneth." 

2. He fulfills prophecy, reduces ritualism to life) 
and rebukes caste and exclusiveness by His teach- 
ings and walk among men. "Lo, Icome; in the 
volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to 
do thy will my God ; yea, thy law is within my 
heart." " Think not that I am come to destroy the 
law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy, but 

Christ and the Church. 207 

to fulfill." The Old Testament, as well as the New, 
is God's word to man; and Christ put the seal of 
his life on this word. When the Pharisees and cer- 
tain Scribes found fault with His disciples because 
they ate with unwashed hands and walked not accord- 
ing to the tradition of the elders, Jesus replied, " This 
people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is 
from me. There is nothing from without a man 
that, entering into him, can defile him ; but the 
things which come out of him, those are they that 
defile the man." The life and not the forra de- 
termines character. The Jewish church was ex- 
clusive in its thoughts and customs. Jews and 
Samaritans had no dealings. Jews excluded Gen- 
tiles, and did not admit them to the privileges of 
their religion. " I have never eaten anything com- 
mon or unclean," said Peter, when he saw the vision. 
But the call from Cornelius interpreted the mystery, 
and when he preached in Cesarea the word was 
blessed abundantly. "And they of the circumcision 
which believed were astonished, as many as came 
with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was 
poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." Jesus never 
failed to recognize any who believed on Him. To 
accept Christ by faith, and to follow Him in life, 
embraces the essential thing in religion. Forms, 
theories, modes, may have their place in the church, 
but Christ is the bread of life to men. The church 
should be as inclusive as Christ. He not only did 
not exclude Jew and Gentile, but publicans and 
sinners, thieves and harlots, found welcome and par- 

208 North Carolina Sermons. 

don in His heart. His life became their salvation, 
and their life His praise. The gospel is a system of 
open arms, of cordial heart, of world-wide benevo- 
lence, of peace and good-will to men. All these 
were exhibited in the person of Christ. He excludes 
nothing but sin, as light excludes nothing but dark- 

3. Christ presents the possibilities of humanity, 
under the inspiration of the divine presence, and 
invites all men to follow Him as their guide. 

The incarnation is not only a manifestation of God, 
but of humanity. He shows man himself, not only 
as he is, but in his possibilities. Sin was never seen 
in its alarming aspects till Christ set the perfect type 
before men. Even the church and religion of the 
time were outward forms without life. Hear Christ, 
as He addresses the church : " Woe unto you, scribes 
and Pharises, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the king- 
dom of heaven against men : for ye neither go in 
yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering 
to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hyp- 
ocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pre- 
tence make long prayers : therefore ye shall receive 
the greater damnation." Christ confronted this 
heartless, formal church with a warm, loving, help- 
ing life. His character was sweet and attractive. 
His work was full of help to men. He made them 
see the beauty and power of a good, true life. His 
teachings and purity revealed the damning nature 
of sin; and at the same time discovered to men the 
way out of darkness into the light of God. Human 

Cheist and the Church. 209 

nature, under this inspiration of the divine presence, 
may become perfect in doctrine and practice. It was 
so in the person of Jesus Christ. "He was tempted 
in all points like as we are, yet without sin." God 
might have chosen some other method of manifest- 
ing Himself, but He could have chosen no other 
method of so completely manifesting the possibili- 
ties of man. Man is capable of a sinless life, and 
that life will be attained in heaven. " The sting of 
death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But 
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through 
our Lord Jesus Christ.'' Christ invites men to follow 
Him. " If any man will come after me, let him 
deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." 
Following Christ involves se//-denial and suffering. 
" If any man suffer as a Christian let him not be 
ashamed." To choose suffering for duty's sake marks 
the hero. It was the choice of Moses, and Christ, 
our Captain, was made perfect through suffering. 
The Hebrew children could pass through the fur- 
nace untouched by fire because there was a fourth 
with them like unto the "Son of God." Paul may 
be driven by the storm for fourteen days and nights 
without sun and stars, but in the midst of howling 
tempest and despairing men he utters words of cheer: 
" Be of good cheer, for there shall be no loss of any 
man's life among you, but of the ship. For there 
stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I 
am, and whom I serve." 


210 North Carolina Sermons. 

II. The church of Scripture is the organized 'presentation 
of the wisest and truest principles for the gov- 
ernment and well being of man. 

1. The principles of the gospel are universal in 
their design and adaptation. " God sent not His 
Son into the ivorld to condemn the world ; but that 
the world, through Him, might be saved." The 
design of the gospel is to save the loorld; and it is to 
be preached to every creature. In the final purpose of 
grace there will be a " new earth." Regenerate 
humanity will regenerate the world. " The law of 
the Lord is perfect." It is adapted to all times and 
conditions. It converts the soul and puts it under 
grace. It differs from all the laws made by men. 
There are no inequalities in it, and no chance for 
injustice to the humblest man on earth. It is 
adjustable like all of God's blessings. Air and light 
are self-adjusting to all conditions of earth ; and gospel 
principles are even more adjustable to the moral con- 
ditions of the soul. It courts investigation and trial, 
welcomes the challenge of the world, and encircles 
the spacious globe with its bands of mercy and love. 
It penetrates the heart and arrests the man by his 
conscience, and makes him tremble in the presence 
of himself. It tries the sinner in the court-chamber 
of his own being, and makes him plead for mercy or 
stand condemned by himself, and " if our heart con- 
demn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth 
all things." Here is the only realm of character 
building, and the only court where truth is free. 
Weightier than any cause of man and time are the 

Christ and the Church. 211 

issues weighed in the heart when the gospel makes 
its plea. 

2. The elements composing the historic church are 
witnesses to the perfection of its purposes and meth- 
ods. " Not many ivise men after the flesh, not many 
mighty, not many nohle, are called ; but God hath 
chosen the foolish things of the world to confound 
the ivise ; and God hath chosen the iveah things of 
the world to confound the things that are mighty J^ 
The obscure have furnished the material out of which 
the gospel has moulded the noblest types of charac- 
ter, even as nature crystalizes the diamond out of 
black carbon. Simple fishermen, under its trans- 
forming power, turned the thought and destiny of 
nations; and a return to the principles of faith 
mothered the reformation. The making of great 
things out of poor elements proves the greatness of 
the processes. The gospel first introduced this prin- 
ciple, and now science and art follow its example. 
Useful products from useless material is now the 
order of progress. This simply answers to the de- 
mand of the gospel, and proves that the world is 
coming to Christ. Radiant as the sunbeams of 
morning reflected from myriads of dew-drops, sphered 
in tiny worlds of brightness, and hanging on grass 
and corn-field and flower, are the principles of the 
gospel as they announce their presence and sway in 
the church, composed of those who were once ''with- 
out hope and without God in the world." The poor 
have the gospel preached to them. Sinners are con- 
verted into heirs of salvation. The maniac is clothed 

212 North Carolina Sermons. 

and in his right mind. The thief enters Paradise 
with his Saviour. The church had its origin in the 
Divine thought, is founded on Christ, and stands as 
a refuge for sinners. 

3. The functions and work of the church are lim- 
ited only b}^ its reception and application of the gos- 
pel of Christ. Service and sacrifice marked the his- 
tory of Christ in the world. " Though he was rich, 
yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through 
his poverty might be rich." "And whosoever will 
be rich among you, let him be your servant : even 
as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 
many." There is nothing plainer than that the 
church should impoverish itself to enrich the world; 
and work is its badge and the charter of its right to 
exist. To grow rich or self-righteous is to die. The 
home is endangered when the bride antagonizes the 
love and efforts of her husband : so the interests of 
Zion are hindered when the church ignores the love 
and work of Christ. If Christ suffered, the church 
must suffer; if Christ gave His life to save sinners, 
so must the church. The church is joined by eternal 
wedlock to Christ. If He was conqueror, the church 
will finally prevail. 

The Great Business of Life. 21^ 


By Rev. R. H. Whitaker, D. D., 
Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 

" Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty 
of man."— EccLESiASTES xii : L?. 

The first, and the all-important, question which 
confronts every human being born into the world, is, 
"What is the great business of life?" The text 
answers that question : " Fear God and keep his com- 

The poet who wrote — 

" 'Tis not all of life to live, 
Nor all of death to die," 

had been studying this life-problem, and had rightly 
reached the conclusion that life means a great deal 
more than simply trying to get the best things which 
earth can bestow ; that there is something higher, 
nobler, grander, holier to engage the thoughts of 
mortals than those allurements of time and sense 
which, at the best, can do us no good when Death 
lays his hand upon us. 

The Saviour of men gave to the world the key- 
note when He said, "Lay not up for yourselves treas- 
ures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, 
and where thieves break through and steal. But lay 
up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither 
moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do 
not break through nor steal. * * * Take no 

214 North Carolina Sermons. 

thought for your life, * * * g^t seek first the 
kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things 
else shall be added unto you." 

If we would make life a success, we should first 
decide the question, What is success f 

Viewed from a worldly standpoint, every selfish 
or ambitious man who, through fortuitous circum- 
stances, or by shrewdness, or even by the use of baser 
means, succeeds in making fame or fortune, is con- 
sidered " a success." 

Were this life all, this conflict between men for 
wealth and honor the only test of manhood, and 
the only requirement of God, the world's standard 
of success would be correct. But when we remem- 
ber that just ahead of us is death, and the resurrec- 
tion, and the judgment, and the eternal future, the 
world's standard of what constitutes success is a fear- 
ful delusion. 

I would not discourage the desire which prompts 
men to accumulate, or to elevate themselves in the 
world ; neither would I discourage them from seek- 
ing to be leaders among their fellows (for there must 
be thinkers and leaders in the world), but I would 
draw as sharply as I may be able a contrast between 
that success which satisfies the world on the one 
hand, and that success which will secure the plaudit 
of " well done" when man meets his God. 

I know not how better to do this than by intro- 
ducing two Bible characters whose lives were as oppo- 
site as the poles. I allude to Solomon of the Old 
Testament and St. Paul of the New. 

The Great Business op Life. 215 

Solomon's life, measured by the world's standard, 
was a magnificent success. Measured by the same 
standard, St. Paul's was a most miserable failure. 

When the world reads that Solomon ascended the 
throne of his father David under the most favorable 
auspices ; that he was endowed with more wisdom 
than any man or monarch of his day; that he so 
prospered that he became the richest as well as the 
wisest king in all the earth; that he reigned over 
Israel forty years, living in such luxury as no other 
king was able to imitate; that he became the most 
renowned of all the kings of his day, and finally 
died amid the splendor in which he had so long 
lived, it involuntarily exclaims, "What a grand suc- 
cess was Solomon's life ! " 

On the other hand, when the world reads that Saul 
of Tarsus, the proud Pharisee, after having been care- 
fully reared and educated in the faith of his fathers, 
renounced the teachings of his youth to become the 
disciple of the despised Nazarene, which act sub- 
jected him to cold, hunger and all sorts of privations; 
estranged him from home, relatives and friends, and 
sent him forth a wanderer among the nations of the 
earth ; resulted in stripes, imprisonment, shipwreck, 
and that finally he was beheaded by order of the 
Emperor Nero; its verdict is, "What a miserable 
failure was the life of Paul ! " 

If vast possessions, earthly wisdom, luxurious liv- 
ing and far-reaching fame constitute success, then, 
indeed, was Solomon's life a most magnificent suc- 

216 North Carolina Sermons. 

On the other hand, if suffering persecutions, en- 
during hardships, being often imprisoned, and, 
finally, being beheaded, constitute a failure, St. Paul's 
life was a most stupendous failure. 

But which of these two lives was the successful 
one? This is the question we propose to answer in 
this discourse; or, rather, let the two men answer 
for themselves. 

In his earlier life, when in the full flush of man- 
hood and royal greatness, Solomon seems not to have 
comprehended, as he did at a later period when he 
wrote my text, what constitutes the great business of 
life. For, in his old age, after he had spent a life in 
the pursuit of pleasure, he wrote a book for no other 
reason that we can conceive of than to make a con- 
fession of his sins, and warn the young men of all 
ages against making the mistakes which made his 
life such an utter failure. In substance, he says : "I, 
the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, 
having inherited the throne from my father David, 
whom God loved ; and no young king ever ascended 
a throne under more favorable auspices; for, added 
to all the other favorable circumstances and condi- 
tions, I was the anointed of God who took special 
delight in me and the people over whom I ruled. 
But, instead of staying my heart upon God, and 
doing the things which He commanded, I gave my 
heart to seek and search out wisdom concerning all 
the things that are done under heaven. I wanted 
to be wise above my fellow-men, and I wanted this 
superior wisdom, not because I desired to use it for 

The Great Business of Life. 217 

the good of humanity and the glory of God, but 
because of the pleasure it might afford me. So I 
left nothing undone that would add to my store of 
knowledge until I had seen or known of all the 
works under the sun. At length, I communed with 
mine own heart, saying, Lo! I am come to great 
estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they 
that have been in Jerusalem; yea, my heart had 
great experience of wisdom and knowledge ; but, to 
my great disappointment, I found, after all the efforts 
I had made to get wisdom, that in much wisdom is 
much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge in- 
creaseth sorrow. That, after all, it was but vanity 
and vexation of spirit." 

Failing to find that pleasure which he supposed 
great knowledge would give, he tells us that he tried 
another experiment. He says, " I said in my heart. 
Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth ; therefore 1 
gave myself unto wine, yet acquainting my heart 
with wisdom." In other words, he thought he could 
drink wine and be mirthful and yet continue to grow 
in knowledge. But finding that to be a failure, he 
partially, if not entirely, left off the getting of any 
more knowledge, and resorted more frequently to the 
wine-cup, drawing about him what the world would 
call gay companions ; and we may conclude, from 
the statement he makes, that he sowed wild oats as 
madly as ever a reckless young man did. But he 
tells us that it failed of bringing him happiness; that 
it, also, was vanity and vexation of spirit. 

218 North Carolina Sermons. 

Not to be outdone, he resorted to another means 
to secure happiness. He says, " I made me great 
works; I built houses, planted vineyards, made me 
gardens, planting trees in them of all kinds of fruits; 
made pools of water to water therewith the wood 
that bringeth forth trees ; got me servants and maid- 
ens, and had servants born in my house. I also had 
great possessions of great and small cattle above all 
that were ever in Jerusalem ; I gathered also silver 
and gold in great abundance ; and then, that I might 
enjoy my vast possessions, I got me men and women 
singers, and bought all kinds of musical instruments, 
that I might have the very best music which the 
world could afford me. In short, whatsoever mine 
eyes desired, I kept not from them. I withheld not 
my heart from any joy." 

After hearing his statement the world may say, 
" Surely, Solomon's life was a success ! " But Solo- 
mon contradicts that opinion. Hear him, after he 
had gotten everything that eye desired or heart 
coveted : 

" Then I looked upon all the works that my hands 
had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored 
to do; and behold all was vanity and vexation of 
spirit, and there was no profit under the sun." His 
works had amounted to nothing, for the reason that 
he labored to make Solomon happy, not caring for 
others. And, remembering that he must soon die 
and leave all his greatness and grandeur and the 
results of his toil, he says: "I hated all the labor 
which I had taken under the sun, because I must 

The Great Business of Life. 219 

leave them unto the man that shall come after me. 
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a 
fool?" Oppressed with grief and shame, because of his 
mistakes and sins, Solomon wrote the book of Eccle- 
siastes that he might utter a solemn warning to the 
youth of all ages and encourage them to a better life 
than he lived. To that end he says: " Cast thy bread 
upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many 
days." By which he means to teach the young man 
who may thirst after knowledge, fame, riches or 
pleasure, that work done for God and his fellow- 
men will pay him back in blessings after many 
days; while that done to gratify one's selfish desires 
is as so much labor lost. He means to say, if God 
endows thee, young man, with great wisdom, use it 
to make the world better and happier, instead of 
using it in the effort to make yourself happy, as I, 
Solomon, did, and failed. 

If God gives thee riches, use them to scatter seeds 
of righteousness, that the world may be speedily 
brought to a knowledge of God, instead of making 
them the means of a luxurious living, as I, Solomon, 
did, to my sorrow. 

If God gives thee great social and official influ- 
ence, use it in propagating and disseminating pure 
principles, instead of compromising and finally wast- 
ing it all as I, Solomon, did, in the company of idol- 
atrous women. 

I, Solomon, made a mistake at the start; but I 
would not have the youth who read of my greatness 
and glory make a similar one. Therefore, in my old 

220 North Carolina Sermons. 

age, and in my sins, I feel constrained to say to the 
youth of all succeeding generations, " Remember 
now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the 
evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when 
thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." 

You may rejoice, O, young man, in your youth, 
and walk in the ways of your heart (as I, Solomon, 
have done to my sorrow), but know ye that for all 
these things God will bring you into judgment. In 
my old age I see and acknowledge m}'- mistake. I 
now understand what it is to live in this world ; 
what the great business of life really is; what it is 
that constitutes a successful life; and I would warn 
the world against the mistake I have made. " Let 
us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: "Fear 
God and keep his commandments, for this is the 
whole duty of man." 

From the story of Solomon, the wise, the great, 
the rich, let us turn for awhile to Saul of Tarsus, the 
young man who held the clothing of those who stoned 
Stephen, but who was so miraculously converted 
while going to Damascus to persecute the Christians. 
When the voice from heaven said : " I am Jesus of 
Nazareth whom thou persecutest," Saul surrendered 
and cried out in reply, "Lord, what wilt thou have 
me to do?" And when that voice said, " I have 
chosen thee to be a teacher, an apostle to the Gen- 
tiles " — to leave home, and kindred, and old associa- 
tions, and go out into'the world and lead men to 
higher and better lives, bearing the reproaches of 
the gospel, and, if need be, suffering, and even dying 

The Great Business or Life. 221 

in defence of that kingdom which Christ came to 
establish — he " was not disobedient " to the voice of 
God, but entered at once, and for life, upon his great 

Saul had his prejudices like other men, but they 
vanished, never to be thought of again, when, from 
the lips of the Son of God, he received his great com- 
mission. He had relatives and friends in Silicia and 
in Jerusalem who hated Jesus and His disciples, and 
who would hate him, also, when it became known 
that he had espoused the cause of the Nazarene; bat 
he did not hesitate. He decided at once and forever 
to cast his lot with Christ, let the consequences be 
what they might. And so when that heavenly voice 
said, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told 
thee what thou must do," he started ; and, although 
blind, and for three days and nights without meat 
or drink or sleep, he did not falter, much less despair. 
And when, at last, Ananias laid his hand upon his 
shoulder, saying, "Brother Saul, receive thy sight," 
he received that anointing that separated him for- 
ever from the past and made him the apostle to the 
Gentile world. 

He may have had other ambitions, but a new one 
took possession of him when the scales fell from his 
eyes, and he more fully comprehended the meaning 
of Calvary and the cross. It was to do the will of 
God — preach the gospel to the Gentiles — and he 
entered at once upon that great work. Writing to 
the Galatians concerning his conversion and call to 
the ministry, he says: "But when it pleased God, 

222 North Carolina Sermons. 

who separated me from my mother's womb, and 
called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me that 
I might preach him among the heathen ; immedi- 
ately I conferred not with flesh and blood ; Neither 
went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles 
before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned 
again unto Damascus." And he says that it was 
three years before he finally returned to Jerusalem, 
and then it was on business pertaining to his work, 
remaining there only a few days. What his feelings 
were when entering that city, after an absence of 
three years, and the scenes through which he l^ad 
passed, no one can ever know ; but we may suppose 
that many conflicting recollections pressed them- 
selves upon his mind. But none of them moved 
him from the line of duty. He might have seen old 
associates, the friends of his youth, who were very 
dear to him when he and they alike sat at the feet 
of Gamaliel, and together studied the law of Moses, 
and alike imbibed a hatred for the lowly and despised 
Nazarene whom he now so dearly loved; but they 
hated him now even more than the Nazarene. But 
Saul had the blessed consciousness of knowing that 
he was right, and he could pray for them and love 
them, even though they hated him. He doubtless 
thought then, as he afterwards said on two different 
occasions, " None of these things move me." * * 
" I count not myself to have apprehended, but this 
one thing I do ; forgetting the things which are 
behind and reaching forth unto those things which 

The Great Business op Life. 223 

are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of 
the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." 

From the day of his miraculous conversion until 
his death his life history was a succession of cross- 
bearings, sufferings, self-denials and duties well per- 
formed. He had no will of his own. Putting him- 
self entirely into the hands of God, he was willing 
to be abased or to abound, to live or die, as it pleased 
Him. " For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain," 
as he said in substance on more than one occasion. 
It showed how unconcerned he was as to this life. 
And M^hen, at last, the end came, be as calmly wrote 
to his beloved Timothy, as if announcing a visit to 
a friend, "I am now ready to be offered; and the 
time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a 
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge 
shall give me at that day." 

Solomon had his pleasure and his crown in this 
world. Paul chose the light affliction, which is but 
for a moment, " that worketh for us a far more ex- 
ceeding and eternal weight of glory, and a crown of 
righteousness at the hands of the Lord, the righteous 
Judge, at that day." 

Solomon looked at the things that are seen. Paul 
looked at the things that are unseen. Solomon lost 
all, for which he had labored, in death. Paul gained 
all, for which he had labored, when his head was 
severed from his body and the chariot of heaven 
bore his immortal spirit "to that house not made with 
hands, eternal in the heavens." 

224 North Carolina Sermons. 

Solomon's life was a failure ; Paul's was a most 
glorious success. 

Whatever else it may accomplish, life is a failure, 
indeed, to that being who fails to realize the truth of 
the hymn — 

"A charge to keep I have, 
A God to glorify ; 
A never dying soul to save 
And fit it for the sky." 

How few of us remember, as we should, the sacred 
trust which God has committed to us! And if we 
sometimes awake to a realization of the great duty 
of life, how few of us pray as fervently as we should 
the prayer of the poet — 

"Arm me vpith jealous care 
As in thy sight to live, 
And oh, thy servant. Lord prepare 
A strict account to give." 

The world calls that man a hero who, in life, 
makes men and nations fear and tremble before him ; 
but the world's estimate of heroism is incorrect. He 
only is great who subdues self and subordinates his 
will and his life to the will of God. 

The world is prone to pay homage to those who 
distinguished themselves in war, statesmanship, 
learning, or by the accumulation of riches. But the 
world's homage is of no value to an immortal soul 
that is unfit, when leaving its tenement of clay, to 
meet its God. 

The Great Business op Life, 225 

There had been great men before the days of 
Christ — conquerors, like Alexander the Great; 
philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle and Socrates; 
rich men like Croesus and others ; yet it is a re- 
markable fact that, in all his discourses, He never 
alluded to any of them in terms of praise. But He 
did commend the widow who cast her mite into the 
treasury and the woman who anointed Him for His 
burial, saying: "Wherever this gospel shall be 
preached in the whole world, there shall also this 
that this woman hath done be told for a memorial 
of her." 

In what respect is the world better to-day because 
rich men like Croesus, or conquerors like Alexander 
the Great lived in it? What really valuable thing 
should we lose were their lives history blotted out? 
Not all the conquerors, statesmen, philosophers and 
poets of the ages past left such a legacy of good to 
the world as John Bunyan, the illiterate dreamer of 
Bedford Street Jail, who feared God and kept His 

To be truly great is to be truly good. And to be 
truly good is to conform to the requirements of 

The Greeks had a fable of the Sirens, whose sweet 
music enchanted the seamen who sailed past the 
island on which they dwelt, and when allured to 
land they were slain. When Ulysses went by he 
filled the ears of his sailors with wax and lashed 
himself to the mast. He heard the music and 
wished to land, but could not because he was bound. 

226 North Carolina Sermons. 

The sailors heard it not because their ears were filled 
with wax — so they all passed safely by. 

But when Orpheus went by, the music of whose 
lyre enchanted not only all on board, but beasts, 
rocks and trees as well, he produced so much better 
music than the Sirens could make that no one 
wished to land. 

Ulysses, lashed to his mast, may fitly represent 
the moralist. He hears the music of worldly temp- 
tation and wants to yield to its seductiveness, but 
resolution holds him, and self-interest — his own 
safety — is the thong that binds him. Orpheus is 
the Christian with better music in his soul. "The 
love of Christ constraineth him." May it be the 
blessed privilege of us all to have our hearts so filled 
with Christ that neither the allurements of the world, 
the weakness of the flesh, nor the wiles of the devil 
shall prevent us from giving heed to the text — " Fear 
God and keep His commandments." 


By Rev. W. P. Williams, 

Of the North Carolina Local Ministers' Conference. 

" For the body is not one member, but many."— 1 Corinthians, xii : 14. 

Eighteen hundred and forty -six years ago St. Paul 
punctured with his sharp satire the ecclesiastical 
self-conceit which proposes one church as "a model 
for all the rest, and measures every other by its con- 
formity to that model. Hear him: "The body is 

Unity in Diversity. 227 

not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, 
Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body ; 
is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear 
shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the 
body ; is it not therefore of the body ? If the whole 
body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the 
whole were hearing, where the smelling? But now 
hath God set the members every one of them in the 
body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all 
one member, where were the body? But now are 
they many members, yet one body": i.e., now are 
they many denominations, yet but one church, Christ, 
the head. His church, the " body ; " and all the differ- 
ent denominations members of that " body." Hence, 
the Presbyterian cannot sa}^ to the Methodist, " We 
have no need of thee;" nor the Methodist to the 
Baptist, " We have no need of you," etc. Nay, much 
more those churches which seem to be " more 
feeble " are necessary for the conversion of the world. 

Until comparatively recently many Protestant 
churches, while they indignantly disclaimed the 
infallibility of the Pope, vehemently asserted their 
own, and proposed to cut off from the " body," or to 
declare as quite imperfect members of it, all those 
churches which did not perform the same functions 
in the same way with themselves. 

In nothing is the power and progress of Christi- 
anity more evidenced than in the rapidity with 
which this anti-Christian spirit of pride is disappear- 
ing from the Christian church. 

228 North Carolina Sermons. 

The first era of the church was one of uniformity. 
The priesthood did the thinking for the people ; the 
bishops did the thinking for the priesthood, and the 
Pope did the thinking for the bishops; and it follows 
that when one man does all the thinking for all men, 
all men will think as one man. 

The second era was one of qualified liberty. Each 
one claimed the right to think for himself, but 
denied that right to his neighbor. Each new body 
claimed the right, not only to determine the creed 
and method of worship for itself, but also for all its 

But we have passed that era and are coming into 
a third, in which we begin to recognize the idea of 
the apostle in the text, viz. : That the church of 
Christ is many members — branches — but "one body," 
in which we no longer wish to conform all churches 
to one model ; in which we begin to perceive that 
there are different functions for the different denom- 
inations; and that for the highest Christian usefulness, 
a division into different church orders, is, or may be, 
as advantageous as a division of society into differ- 
ent classes of industries. It is only in the lowest 
phase of church life that one church attempts to 
meet all the wants, supply all the needs, and fulfill 
all demands of church organization. 

The Episcopalians have furnished an aesthetic 
element ; they have prevented worship from becom- 
ing bold in its simplicity, and have held up the 
church to the idea of public worship from which, 
but for them, we might perhaps have turned away 

Unity in Diversity, 229 

to a mere service of instruction. The Presbyterians, 
Baptists and Lutherans have been united in their 
respective bodies by their creeds, and have held the 
rest of the world to them. Like a light-ship at 
anchor, the former has swung to and fro with incom- 
ing and out-going tides, but they have served to 
mark the anchorage; and it is by their steadiness of 
doctrine that those in the freer churches, who 
wished to hold to the old landmark, have been aided 
in resisting the restless spirit of innovators. The 
Methodists, by the warmth of their sometimes vocif- 
erous zeal, have compelled attention from thousands 
whom quieter methods have failed to attract. Their 
hunting — like that of the Bushmen of Africa — has 
been at times, it is true, pretty noisy, but they have 
bagged game which all other methods have missed. 
Even the heretics have contributed something to 
the great fabric of truth which God is uprearing. 
The Unitarians by their protests against the too rigidly 
mathematical statements of the past have led the 
evangelical churches to put more reliance in spir- 
itual life than ever before, and have indirectly, by 
the controversies they have awakened, both clarified 
and strengthened the faith of the church in a Divine 

When King Solomon built the Temple various 
were the kinds of handicraft that combined in the 
structure. Some quarried the stones, some cut and 
squared them. Some felled the cedars in the 
forest of Lebanon, some hewed and mortised them. 
Some laid foundations, some built up the massive 

230 North Carolina Sermons. 

walls. Some " worked cunningly in ornamenta- 
tion," and some wove the tapestries that were to 
adorn it. The Temple was one, the workmen were 
many. So are we all working together on the same 
church. Methodists pioneering after virgin timber. 
Presbyterians laying broad and deep foundations in 
doctrine. Episcopalians weaving with much exquisite 
taste the ornamental portions of the Great House of 
God. Congregationalists building the doors and 
swinging them open wide, that whosoever loves 
mercy, does justly, and walks humbly before God 
may enter in thereat. The Baptists are fighting, both 
by land and water ; and are marching grandly on 
toward the final conquest of the world. And so on, 
with other denominations too numerous to mention 
in a short sermon. 

Thus there are many churches, and yet but one 
church And thus, with all our various forms of 
creed and worship, we are one chu-ch. 

" One family, we dwell in Him; 
One church — above, beneath." 

And the Universalists have certainly changed the 
method of presenting the doctrines of Divine pun- 
ishment, while they never have, nor never can, elimi- 
nate tiie warning of it from God's Word, nor the just 
fear of it from the human heart! It is constantly 
claimed by the Roman Catholic Church that it is 
one, and that Protestantism leads to division, separa- 
tion and schism ! And this claim is asserted with so 
much energy that there are thousands of Protestants 
who really believe it. But it is not true. Liberty 

Unity in Diveksity. 231 

has produced greater unity than despotism. The 
Romish Church is a unit only in name ; the Protest- 
ant churches are a unit in everything else. There 
is more uinty in doctrine, more unity in spirit, more 
unity in religious life in the Protestant evangelical 
churches than in the churches of the Papist. Of 
denominational controversy there is no such illus- 
trious example as that afiorded by the bitter strifes 
between the Jansenist and the Jesuit. 

The so-called "Ecumenical Council of the Vati- 
can " was put in bonds at its first session. Its ofii- 
cers were appointed for it; its business was prepared 
for it ; its speakers were allotted to it. Everything 
that transpired was arranged by the " infallible " (?) 
Pope and his advisers. And yet, despite it all, the 
dome of St. Peter's re-echoed again and again with 
controversies the most bitter, with denunciations the 
most fierce — yea, with tumults that would have dis- 
graced an American political convention. While 
the Protestant Evangelical Alliance that met in 
Philadelphia soon after, which was trammeled by no 
" rules " save those of its own making, was not 
marred by a single dispute. 

And while the Ecumenical Conference in Wash- 
ington, D. C, was somewhat diversified, yet there 
was Unity in Diversity. 

For ourselves, we have no faith in the present suc- 
cess of any movement towards an organic union of 
all the branches of the Methodist Church, much less 
of all the Protestant churches. We doubt whether it 
is desirable. We are certain it is not practicable. It 

232 North Carolina Sermons. 

is not by all becoming Presbyterians or Baptists, 
Lutherans or Methodists that the unity of the church 
is to be attained. 

The " body " cannot all become head, foot, eye, or 
ear. The endeavor to convert each other to one way 
of thinking has been fully tried, and it has failed — 
utterly failed. We are to seek for unity, not by be- 
coming the same in creed, church government, etc., 
but by recognizing each other's usefulness ; and by 
perceiving that God in His providence has for each 
one of us a work which no other denomination can so 
successfully accomplish. Then let us be " kindly 
affectioned one toward another, with brotherly love." 

" O, may the saints of every name 
Unite to praise the bleeding Lamb! 
May jars and discords cease to flame, 
And all the Saviour's love proclaim, 
And give to Jesus glory." 


By Rev, W. H, Moore, 

Of the North Carolina Conference M. E. C, S. 

"A good name is ratlier to be chosen tlian great riches, and loving 
favour rather than silver and gold."— Prov. xxii : 1. 

Every man, if he has not lost his self-respect, de- 
sires to be thought well of by his associates. When 
a man has reached the point where he " does not care 
what people think of him," there is but little, if any- 

Value of a Good Name. 233 

thing, in him to commend him to the good opinion 
of others. There may come times in a man's life 
when he must put himself in antagonism with the 
majority of his associates; but a man who has no 
regard for a righteous public sentiment is lost to every 
sense of honor, and has already trod all the inter- 
mediate rounds in the ladder going down into the 
pit of degradation. He has reached the bottom. 

Riches are not to be despised. Among the gifts 
of God, when properly used, they become a great 
blessing to him who possesses them. It is not, there- 
fore, because of their little, but great value, that Sol- 
omon puts them in comparison with a good name, to 
make the value of the latter all the more conspicu- 
ous. The wise man declares, by the inspiration of 
the Holy Ghost, that "a good name is rather to be 
chosen than great riches," because it is of more value, 
and "loving favour" to be chosen "rather than silver 
and gold." 

The theme furnished us by the text is: The trans- 
cendent value of a good name. 

A good name, as used in the text, is not a name 
which has been popularized by some good and great 
man who has borne it, but stands for a good charac- 
ter, which draws to it the loving favor of those who 
are associated with him who bears the name. " A 
rose by any other name would smell as sweet." There 
is nothing in a name apart from the individual char- 
acter of him who bears it, and of which it stands as 
the representative. George Washington, John Wes- 
ley, John Calvin are names repected and admired 

234 North Carolina Sermons. 

the world over ; but many a graceless wretch to 
whom patriotic or pious parents gave these names 
has died in prison, or swung from a scaffold, for in- 
famous crimes they had committed. They bore hon- 
ored names but disgraced them, and, unlike the 
great and good men for whom they were named, they 
have gone down to their graves " unwept, unhonored, 
and unsung " 

A good name, as used in the text, does not mean, 
I repeat, a name only. It stands as the symbol of a 
good character, or a good reputation growing out of 
a good character. To have a good name among men 
when we deserve only their reprobation, simply argues 
that we have been skilful hypocrites, successfully 
hiding our real self behind a semblance of virtuous 
life; or that those associated with us have been too 
obtuse to see our real character when it has been 
exposed. A hypocrite is essentially a man who has 
built up a good reputation on the semblance of a good 
character, for he is one who imitates another. 

A good reputation is not to be despised by any 
man ; but we must never forget that character is 
everything. Shakespeare has written many good 
things, but nothing that breathes a worthier senti- 
ment than that in the following lines: 

" Good name in man and woman, * * * 
Is the immediate jewel of their souls; [iDg- 

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something — noth- 
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands; 
But he that filches from me my good name 
Robs me of that which not enriches him, 
And makes me poor indeed." 

Value of a Good Name. 235 

There is a wealth of wisdom in this saying of a 
quaint old writer: " Be wondrous wary of your first 
comportment. Get a good name, and be very tender 
of it afterwards, for it is like the Venice glass, quickly 
cracked, never to be mended, though patched it may 
be." And take along with you this fable : " Fire, 
Water, and Fame went to travel together. They 
consulted that if they lost one another how they 
might meet again. Fire said, ' Where you see smoke, 
there you will find me.' Water said, ' Where you 
see marsh and low grounds, there you shall find me.' 
Fame said, ' Take heed how you lose me ; for, if 
you do, you will run a great risk never to meet me 
again — there is no retrieving of me.' " A single mean 
act may destroy a good name which it has taken a 
lifetime to establish, and when once lost it may 
never be regained. 

The good name which is rather to be chosen than 
great riches is a good name resulting from a good 
or a religious character. Few will deny the truth 
taught us in the text, and yet many are running 
counter to it in the every-day affairs of life. Ours 
is a material age. We hear men talking of " devel- 
opment," but it is all of a material kind — mines, in- 
crease of crops, fine colts, and large hogs. " Trusts," 
" combines" and " syndicates" are words that have 
become as familiar to us as our a b c's. We are 
losing sight of the greater good in a wild race after 
the lesser one. Great riches in silver and gold, 
houses and lands, are swallowing up and blinding us 
to the greater good — a good character. I may not 

■236 North Carolina Sermons. 

hope to effectually'' dam this stream which runs with 
the force of a torrent, but I would, with God's help, 
cast a pebble that may impede if it cannot arrest its 
iflow. To do this — 

1. Let us compare the relative ivorth of a good name 
and great riches as commercial values. A dollar has a 
specific value. It will purchase so much, and no 
more. But "great riches" put one in possession of 
all the purchasable good the world has to give and 
which we have the capacity to enjoy. With "great 
riches" a man may load his table with the choicest 
food gathered from every quarter of the earth and 
*' fare sumptuously every day." He may clothe him- 
self in the very best apparel that man's skill can 
make — " in purple and fine linen." He may build 
him a palace for a home, and furnish it with the 
luxurious appointments of a king. With " great 
riches" he may buy the beauty of womanhood to 
superintend his household affairs and fill the posi- 
tion of a wife. With "great riches" he may buy all 
that will gratify "the lusts of the flesh, and the 
■desire of the eye and the pride of life." And here 
he must stop. Riches have only a marketable value, 
and when they have purchased what is in the market, 
then they have reached their limit. 

But "a good name" is better capital than money, 
and in the marts of trade "loving favor is better 
than silver and gold." 

One of the axioms of the world of trade is that " it 
takes money to make money." This is true in part, 
but only in part. It is one of those deceptive half- 

Value of a Good Name. 237 

truths that seem to be whole truths, and all the worse 
for that fact. It is true that a man must have capital 
on which to trade if he would accumulate; but it is 
not true that money is the only capital on which a 
successful business may be done. 

Some men have amassed fortunes by grinding the 
faces of the poor, and in other ways have grown rich 
by combining their capital against the less fortunate; 
but all their wealth has not been able to purchase 
for them the esteem and good-will of their fellow- 
men. Honorable men reprobate their conduct, and 
think no more of them because they are rich. We 
call such men hogs, to express our contempt for them 
and the methods by which the}^ have grown rich. 

Stewart, " the merchant prince," who crushed with- 
out conscience, and with an iron hand, all who 
rivaled him in business, died without a tear to mois- 
ten the sod above him, and the world has no con- 
cern whether his bones now rest in the vault made 
for their reception, or are bleaching in the fathom- 
less caves of the ocean. Hutchinson "cornered" the 
market, and by the rise in breadstuffs made a mil- 
lion; but his victims, out of whose mouths the bread 
was taken, hold and will forever hold him in detes- 

Love gets everything. Character is made, not 
bought. It is the product of the sweat we have 
dropped on the world's hard anvil while forging out 
the lives we have lived, and is valuable in propor- 
tion to the goodness we have put into it. A good 
name brings to us loving favor from the world, and 

238 North Carolina Sermons. 

the just esteem of men is worth more than great 
riches in silver and gold. 

A young man with a widowed mother to care for 
was engaged to run the elevator in a city hotel. He 
did his work well and to the entire satisfaction of his 
employer. Saturday night came, and with it the 
pay for his week's work and an order to attend on 
Sunday to do his usual work. He looked at the 
money which had been paid him and thought how 
much it would help his mother, then thought of the 
violation of the holy Sabbath and the displeasure of 
Him he had been taught to honor His eyes filled 
with tears as he said to his employer, "My mother 
needs the money, but I cannot work on Sundays." 
"Then I will get some one else to do it. If you are 
not here in the morning, you need not come any 
more," was the answer he received. The youth 
dashed the tears from his eyes and passed out at the 
door carefully watched by a stranger, who, standing 
by, had heard and seen all that had transpired. It was 
sad for the son as he laid his week's wages in the lap of 
his mother and told her he was to lose his place. He 
lost it, for, instead of returning to work, the next 
morning he went to the Sabbath-school. Early Mon- 
day morning the stranger who had seen him leave 
the hotel Saturday night called at the place and got 
his address. He wanted a boy, a boy with " a good 
name," and he secured this one at better wages than 
he received at the hotel; and now he is a member of 
the firm, rich in worldly goods, and held in loving 
favor by all who know him. 

Value op a Good Name. 239 

Believe me when I tell you, after wide observation, 
that in market value to a business man a good 
name is the better part of his capital. I had rather 
begin life on a back street with five hundred dollars 
and a good name as capital, than to have an eligible 
site with five thousand dollars and a bad reputation 
to start with. 

2. Let us try their comparative value in social life. It 
is lamentably true that some men and some women 
are willing to sell themselves, body and soul, for 
money ; but what man whose society is worth count- 
ing, or whose society is worth keeping, desires, or 
values, the interchange of social courtesies, much 
more the intimate companionship, of such people? 

A true man does not disesteem another because 
he is poor, nor does he hold him in regard simply 
because he is rich ; he does not honor the person of 
the mighty, or disparage that of the lowly. To him: 

"Honor and shame from no condition rise." 

A man may have " great riches " and be bankrupt 
in character ; but such a man is too sordid in his life 
to be held in esteem by noble-minded and virtuous 
people. I know it is often thought, and it is some- 
times said, " A man can do anything with money," 
and that " he can associate with whom he pleases, if 
he be rich." But is that true? Are riches alone a 
passport to the best social circles of the world ? Let 
the man who has tried it and been successful (if 
there be one) rise and testify. 

240 North Carolina Sermons. 

It is not denied that gold may buy a man place 
and prominence among some people But what 
kind of people are they? It only procures admis- 
sion to that part of society whose circle is composed 
of people as sordid as himself, and who are regarded 
by the thinking, and the good, as being altogether 
unworthy the esteem of virtuous men. We call such 
people hogs in common speech, and would find as 
much of pleasure in the associations of a pig-stye as 
in the homes and society of men who measure others 
by the size of their bank accounts or the fullness of 
their pocket-books. 

A good name is rather to be chosen than great 
riches as a passport to the best social circles. There 
is but one aristocracy in the world that is worth 
anything, and that is not of blood, or money, but of 
virtue. This brings together all the good elements 
of the world, and binds them together in bonds of 
purity, as the one essential thing to membership in 
its ennobling circle ; and any other is not worthy to be 
woven into a door-mat on which for these to wipe 
their feet. 

3. Try it in the sphere of the affections. Love is the 
noblest of all the affections of the soul, if it find 
pleasure and satisfaction in that which is noble. It 
cannot be bought ; its price is above rubies. Love 
demands to be paid in its own coin, and it will take 
no other. 

A woman of avaricious spirit may by the sacred 
rite of the marriage bond sell her body to a man, 
only for the privilege of using his money to gratify 

Value op a Good Name. 241 

her pride ; but, in such a case, the union being a 
mercenary one, there can be no union of hearts, and 
none of the holy aspirations that are kindled alone 
by love. " Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, 
than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Love gives 
zest to the appetite and makes the coarser fare of the 
poor man sweeter to the taste, and more nourishing 
to the body, when eaten in love, than the dainter 
fare of his rich neighbor on whose table the stalled 
ox is placed and eaten in an angry spirit. The 
truth is, there is no enjoyment in life which love 
does not heighten. It is the best sauce for every dish^ 
a passport to the best social state, and enriches u& 
with that which no amount of money can procure — 
the loving favor of those who are worthy of our 

I shall close this sermon with the question : Da 
you accept as true this statement of Holy Writ that 
" a good name is rather to be chosen than great 
riches ;" and that " loving favour is better than silver 
and gold?" If so, then, a good name, a righteous 
character, will be the chief object of your life. It is 
the pearl of great price which a man having found 
is warranted in selling all he has to buy the field in 
which it is found. " Happy is the man that findeth 
wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding: 
for the merchandise of it is better than the merchan- 
dise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 
She is more precious than rubies and all the things 
thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 
Length of days is in her right hand: and in her left 

242 North Carolina Sermons. 

hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a 
tree of life to them that lay hold upon her : and 
happy is every one that retaineth her." 

A boy was apprenticed to a Quaker to learn the 
tanner's trade. The condition of service expressed 
by the Quaker was : " Thee shall do as well by me 
as I do by thee." The boy was so faithful he won 
his employer's confidence. He was honest, good- 
natured and industrious. Before the expiration of 
his apprenticeship the Quaker said to him one day, 
" Henry, I think of making thee a present when thy 
time is out. I can not tell thee what it shall be, but 
it shall be worth more than a hundred pounds." 

Great expectations were kindled in the young 
man's mind, and many surmises made as to what 
the present would be. The day the apprenticeship 
■expired the Quaker took the young man to his 
father, and said, " Henry, I will now give thee thy 
present." Then, turning to Henr3^'s father, he said: 
•^' Thy son is the best boy I ever had in my employ " 
Glancing back at Senry he continued, " This is thy 
present, Henry — a good name." 

The golden dreams of Henry vanished. He stood 
silent, sad, disappointed. But his father answered, 
" I would rather hear you say that of my son than 
see you give him all the money you are worth, for a 
good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." 

May you recognize the value of a good name, and 
seek it above all worldly good. 

The Greatest Book in the World. 243 

By Rev. J. W. Carter, D. D. 

Of the First Baptist Church, Raleigh, N. C. 

" The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and 
silver."— Psalms cxix ; 72. 

The Psalms are inspired hymns. They were 
written by David and other Hebrew poets who were 
guided in thought and speech by the Spirit of God. 
They were also set to music and sung in the worship 
of ancient times. In some respects the most striking 
of all the Psalms is the one hundred and nineteenth. 
Not only is it the longest of them, but it is peculiar 
in form and construction. You notice that it is 
divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses each. 
At the head of each section you find a strange word. 
These twenty-two words which puzzle so many 
English readers are the names of the twenty-two let- 
ters of the Hebrew alphabet ; and in the Hebrew 
language the eight verses of each section begin with 
the Hebrew letter, the name of which stands at the 
head of the section. The eight verses of the first 
division all begin with Aleph, which is the first letter 
of the Hebrew alphabet ; the eight verses of the 
second section all begin with Beth, the second Hebrew 
letter ; and this arrangement runs through the entire 
Psalm until we come to Yan, which is the last letter 
of the Hebrew alphabet. 

This remarkable Psalm not only gives us the 
truth, but states it in a striking, taking way. The 
general subject of the Psalm is the Word of God. 

244 North Carolina Sermons. 

How the heaven-guided poet exalts the precious 
Word, and exhorts us to love, seek, study and 
practice it! Almost every verse of the long Psalm 
is a direct reference to God's Word under some 
one of the various names by which it is known. 
How much is said about " the law," " the precepts," 
"the statutes," "the teachings," "the judgments," 
" the testimonies," and " the commandments " of the 
Lord. Our text declares the supreme value of the 
inspired Word. " The law of thy mouth is better 
unto me than thousands of gold and silver." 

The writer of the one hundred and nineteenth 
Psalm never saw a complete Bible. Since he lived 
much of the Old Testament and all of the New Tes- 
tament have been added. Since his time the greatest 
events of the ages have occurred. Faithful prophets 
have lived, and taught, and written, and died. Jesus 
Christ has come into the world, walked and talked 
with men, preached his wonderful sermons, taught 
the way of salvation, died on the Cross for our sins, 
come forth from the grave in triumph, and gone up 
to the Father's right hand. The Apostles and other 
inspired men have traveled, preached and suffered. 
In addition to their other labors, they also wrote the 
Gospels and Epistles. Our Bible is not only larger 
in size, but it is far broader, clearer and fuller in its 
teachings than the Bible of the good man who wrote 
the one hundred and nineteenth Psalm. But he 
said : "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than 
thousands of gold and silver." If his little imper- 
fect Bible was so precious to him, surely our larger, 
fuller Bible ought to be vastly more precious to us. 

The Greatest Book in the World. 245 

The subject about which I want to talk to you is 
" The Greatest Book in the World." It is not claimed 
that the Bible is the largest book. Compared with 
the five thousand arid pages of Comte's Philosophy, 
or with some other books that might be named, it is 
not a large book. You can buy a copy of it for 
twenty-five cents, carry it in your vest pocket and 
read it through in a few weeks. But it is the greatest 
book. It is the Word of God through men to men. 
It gives us God's thoughts in human speech. We 
live in a book-making age. More men and women 
write books to-day than ever before. Never before 
were books so common and cheap as they are now. 
One of the great facts of the present time is the 
enormous production of books in all civilized coun- 
tries. Thousands and tens of thousands of new 
books are given to the public every year. School 
books, books of travel, books of fiction, books on 
theology, history and philosophy, books on all 
aspects of science and all branches of industry, books 
on all special subjects and theories, books in prose 
and poetry, and in all written languages, are poured 
forth in ever-growing numbers from countless 
presses. Almost three thousand years ago the wise 
man said : " Of making many books there is no end." 
(Ecclesiastes xii : 12.) What would he say now? 
What would he think, if he could come back to this 
world, visit the book-making centers, go through the 
great publishing houses, compute the immense cap- 
ital they control, consider the labor and machinery 
they employ in the manufacture of books, and 

246 North Carolina Sermons. 

behold the vast masses of finished product ? How 
he would be startled ! Surely he would exhaust the 
strength of language in vain efforts to express his 
surprise. What becomes of all the books? Who 
buys them ? Who reads them ? What is done with 
them? But without any unjust reflection upon any 
other book, I insist that the Bible is the greatest of 
all books. It is greater than all others because it 
teaches some vastly important truths which we can 
not get from any other book. Witlioutthe Bible we 
would be ignorant of some of the weightiest and most 
solemn facts which man ever heard or God ever 
taught. Let us see. 

1. Our knowledge of the origin and of the moral con- 
dition of man comes from the Bible. It is the book which 
gives us the clearest, truest account of man's creation 
and destiny. We find ourselves in this world. We 
know that we came from somewhere. Mysteries press 
upon us from all around. But we have capacity to 
investigate. We can study the workings of our own 
minds. We can explore many departments of Nature. 
We can produce telescopes ; search the heavens, and 
weigh and measure the stars. We can make micro- 
scopes and examine the minute things of earth. We 
can read the strange records which are written upon 
the rocks, and learn what they have to say about the 
beginnings of plant life and animal life. 

But all the time some hard questions keep coming 
up in our minds and calling for answers. What are 
we? Whence came we? Whither go we? Where 
did we come from? What are we here for, and 

The Greatest Book in the World. 247 

where are we going? When we seek an answer to 
these and kindred questions, where shall we find it? 
Nature can give no response. The earth is dumb. 
The stars in heaven are silent. The ocean with its 
swarming life rolls back no reply. The grave is 
voiceless. But the Bible comes to our relief. It tells 
us that God made man in His own image, looked 
upon him in his early innocence, and saw that he 
was good. Then man was not the product of blind 
chance, or the lucky result of unmeaning accident, 
but he was the holy creation of the holy God. In 
the lustrous beauty of stainless purity he walked the 
sinless earth It was his delight to worship and 
serve the Spiritual and Eternal God. But a sad 
change came. Man sinned and fell. When he vio- 
lated the perfect law, he corrupted his moral nature 
and plunged into guilt, and now wherever we find 
him, we can see that he is a fallen creature. He is 
often false, often dishonest, often cruel, often a bloody 
butcher, often a fierce robber, often a dark-minded 
idolater, and always and everywhere selfish and 
guilty. The picture which the great apostle gives in 
Romans and Ephesians of our natural condition is 
dark and repelling. But it is terribly true. No 
thoughtful student of human nature can deny it. 
The man who says it is a slander, is either too ignor- 
ant to recognize the truth when he sees it, or too 
guilty to confess it when he knows it. Now the Bible 
is a specially useful and supremely necessary book, 
because it is the only book which explains our origin, 
describes our present moral condition, and teaches 
other great practical facts. 

248 North Carolina Sermons. 

2. It is also the best and fullest revelation of God. 
Nature suggests that there is a God, and that He is a 
being of infinite power and wisdom. "The heavens 
declare the glory of God : and the firmament showeth 
his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and 
night unto night showeth knowledge." (Ps. xix : 1, 2.) 
But we want to know more of God than we can learn 
from the changeable earth and distant stars. The 
knowledge which we get from Nature is good enough 
as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. It is 
sufficient to excite our interest, but not sufficient to 
satisfy the deepest cravings of our souls. Where shall 
we find more knowledge? Here again the Bible 
comes to our relief. When we study its pages, we 
learn not only that there is a great and glorious God, 
the Creator and Upholder of all things, the Almighty 
and All-wise, the Eternal and Immutable, but we 
also find that " God is love." What a precious and 
thrilling fact! Nature could never teach it Some- 
times when we possess good health, live in comfort, 
look upon calm skies and lovely landscapes, and 
are pleased with ourselves and others, it is easy to 
believe that God loves us. But the reverse is also 
true. When we are shattered by disease, when our 
friends sicken and die, when our hearts are stricken 
and desolate, when our property is destroyed, when 
the cyclone sweeps over the land and leaves wreck 
and death in its track, or when the earthquake shakes 
down cities, and we stand amid the ruins of our loved 
homes, then we doubt and question the love of God, 
and are not satisfied with the testimony of Nature. 

The Greatest Book in the World. 249 

We ask, Does God loves us? What are His relations 
to us? Is He pleased with the little services that we 
can offer? Will He accept us in Christ, and finally 
save us? When these and other anxious questions 
besiege our troubled hearts, no reply comes from 
earth or ocean. Nature is as silent as the grave. But 
the Written Word answers and tells us that " God is 
love." (1 John iv : 8.) He so loved the world ; this 
wicked and condemned world ; this sinning, sighing, 
suflFering world ; this blood-drenched and tear-stained 
world ; this world so full of aching hearts and weeping 
eyes — " God so loved the world that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." (John iii : 16.) 
In Nature I see the outer robe of God, and I ad- 
mire its beauty and grandeur. But in the Bible, I 
see " the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ " 
(II Cor. iv : 6). I also hear Him speaking to me; 
sometimes, it is true, in solemn and awful tones, but 
again in sweetest accents of truest love. In Nature 
I see the hand of God. Perhaps I touch it, but it is 
a cold hand. I almost shrink from it. In the Bible I 
also see the hand of God ; but it is a warm hand, and 
it is stretched down to me. I grasp it, and I feel 
that it thrills me with life and love. Ah ! more than 
that. In the Bible I behold the face of God, and it is 
a face of wondrous loveliness. And as I gaze upon 
it, I feel the throbbings and warmth of His infinite 
loving heart, beating in deathless sympathy with 
fallen humanity. Do we truly rejoice in the revela- 
tion which God has given of Himself, that we may 

250 North Carolina Sermons. 

know and love Him, and seek and enjoy the things 
which are pure and high ? If we do, we must value 
and exalt the Book which contains this precious rev- 

3. We are indebted to the Bible for all the knowl- 
edge that we have of the future ivorld. We know 
that we are here now ; but it is certain that we are 
passing awa3^ The grave yawns darkl}'- before us. 
Insatiate death is on our track, and in swift pursuit 
of us ; and before many years it will drag us down 
into the shadowy regions of the unnumbered dead. 
Is it not natural that we should want to know some- 
thing about the world to which we are going? In 
all times and countries men have longed, thirsted 
and panted for immortality. Often, amid the labors 
and strivings of the present life, it has seemed to 
them that they could feel the restless throbbiiigs of 
the Immortal within themselves. Millions, stagger- 
ing under the burdens of earth, have hoped that 
some message-bearer from the eternal world would 
come to them bringing the knowledge for which 
their hearts ached. Many men and women have 
been so anxious to get news from their departed 
friends that they have become converts to modern 
Spiritualism, and professed belief in its absurd pre- 
tensions and stupid impostures. Suppose that at 
the present time a number of people like Lazarus, 
the young man of Nain, and the daughter of Jarius 
should be raised from the dead and brought Ijack to 
life. Suppose that they should bring with them a 
clear knowledge of the life beyond. Would there 

The Greatest Book in the World. 251 

not be a great rush of the multitudes to see and hear 
them ? and would they not be besieged with eager 
questions? Suppose that they should meet in a 
congress to exchange experiences, tell what they had 
heard and seen in the other world, and discuss the 
conditions of life which exist there. Would not a 
tremendous interest betaken in that congress? What 
crowds would want to attend it, and what careful 
arrangements would be made to report every word 
that might be spoken. In attendance and interest 
the occasion would completely eclipse the Minne- 
apolis and Chicago Conventions. 

But there is a Book which does convey to us some 
information concerning the future state. It tells us 
of wondrous things which our earthly eyes have not 
yet seen. It teaches that death does not end all ; that 
beyond this vale of tears there is an endless life ; and 
that the righteous will rejoice forever with Christ in 
glory, while the finally wicked will be hopelessly 
banished from the presence of the holy God. The 
knowledge which the Bible imparts is not full and 
minute. It is not enough to gratify our curiosity, or 
to answer all the questions that men may ask. But 
it is sufficient to enable us to make the best of life 
in this world. When we think of death and of the 
life beyond death, and can find nothing in Nature or 
human philosophy to satisfy the anxious longings of 
our souls, is it not refreshing to know that there is 
one Book in which God declares His unchanging 
love to His people, and tells them something of their 
duty and destiny? Surely the Book which rescues 

•252 North Carolina Sermons. 

us from darkness and uncertainty is the best and 
greatest of books. 

4. The Bible also teaches us how to be saved from 
the guilt and power of sin, and to win heaven. If 
it simply showed us that we were lost and helpless 
dinners, and then left us in our ruined state, without 
revealing to us any way or hope of escape, or offering 
us any help, it would merely mock and taunt us. It 
would only aggravate our misery. But it does noth- 
ing of the kind. In the Gospel we have an inspired 
record of the birth, and life, and labors, and toils, and 
teachings, and sufferings, and death, and resurrec- 
tion, and ascension of Jesus Christ. He is the all- 
perfect Son of the most high God. He is the bright- 
ness of the Father's "glory, and the express image 
of His person." (Hebrews i : 3.) " This is a faithful 
saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (I Tim- 
othy i : 15.) There is a sense in which it may be 
said that He took our place under God's law, suffered 
and died for us, and rose from the dead and went up 
to heaven for us ; and now salvation in His name 
may be preached to all people. The ringing invita- 
tions of cross-bearing, blood-sweating, thorn-crowned, 
bleeding, dying love are addressed to sinners every- 
where. We are all exhorted to repent of our wicked- 
ness, look to Christ in faith and come into union with 
Him; and are told that if we will commit ourselves 
to Him for time and eternity, our sins will be freely 
forgiven, and we will be "accepted in the Beloved," 
and finally welcomed to heaven. 

The Greatest Book in the World. 253- 

We are always anxious to get relief from earthly 
sufferings. When we are stricken with physical 
disease we seek healing. It is our nature to do all 
that we can to prolong our lives. Should we not be 
still more earnest and diligent in our strivings to 
obtain everlasting life. A recent letter from St. 
Petersburg describes a wild craze which prevailed 
in the Capitol of the Russian Empire a few months 
ago. Major Gatchkowsky, an army officer, returned 
from Asia, where he had spent some years. He had 
marvellous stories to tell. He reported that in his 
long travels he had passed through that unknown 
and mysterious country which the world calls Thibet. 
It was his boast that he had visited a region which 
no European had ever seen before. In a large sec- 
tion of that strange land he noticed that the people 
never died, and were never sick. He tried to learn 
the secret of their immortal health and youth. But 
for a long time they refused to tell him. But he 
waited and hoped, and finally his patience was 
rewarded. A bright young man of four or five 
hundred years took a special interest in him because 
he came from the Empire of the great Czar, and 
gave him the secret by which they baffled disease 
and death. The infallible remedy was a life-giving 
elixir, which was injected into the veins of the peo- 
ple. The accommodating young man also explained 
the process by which the precious elixir was made. 
Here was a man who, in abundant fertility of imagi- 
nation, could even surpass the patent-medicine 
men of our own country. He went back to St. 

254 North Carolina Sermons. 

Petersburg, told his story, and was believed. He 
claimed that he possessed the secret of life and death. 
The people thronged his office. They gathered 
around him in eager crowds. They would hardly 
give him time to sleep. Not only did the common 
people come, but bankers, millionaires, princes, 
nobles and Grand Dukes, all swelled the human 
tide. The Czar sent for his son, whose health was 
poor, to receive the new treatment. For a few weeks 
the Major coined money more rapidly than our mint 
at Philadelphia. But his career was brief. Two 
prominent men, into whose blood the death-prevent- 
ing elixir had been injected, died suddenly. Then 
a fierce reaction came. A great uproar was raised, 
and Major Gatchkowsky fled to save his life. The 
poor deluded people in their reckless efforts to secure 
immortal life in this world of trial and temptation, 
poured their money freely into the pockets of a 
daring swindler. Oh that men were as ready to be 
saved as they are to be humbugged ! With what 
ceaseless diligence we should labor for the life of 
"peace with God" and everlasting blessedness. But 
we find multitudes who" neglect the great salvation" 
and reject the Christ of the gospel. Many who 
passed through the years of youth, and are now going 
down the western slopes of the hill of life are still 
living "without God in the world." Some of them, 
with whitened hair and furrowed cheeks, are still 
hardening their hearts against the Saviour and striv- 
ing against the Holy Spirit. Let us "seek first the 
Kingdom of God and His righteousness." (Matthew 

The Greatest Book in the World. 255 

vi : 33.) Eternal life is a priceless possession and an 
endless and glorious inheritance. Therefore the 
Bible, which reveals to us the method by which it is 
to be secured, is a book of mighty and measureless 

Now, finally, the Bible contains God's directions 
for our guidance in our earthly lives. It is not a 
book of minute details and petty by laws, but rather 
a book of great facts and principles. While it con- 
victs us of grievous sin and flagrant folly, it also 
credits us with some intelligence. Not many years 
ago a bill to abolish gambling was proposed and dis- 
cussed in the Kentucky Legislature. A man who 
was supposed to have sense enough to be a member 
of the Legislature opposed the bill. He argued that 
gambling was not wrong because there was nothing 
in the Bible against it. He said that he had read 
the Good Book through and could find no text which 
said "Thoushalt not gamble." Perhaps there are 
other men who are as foolish as that Kentucky leg- 
islator. Some people think that they have a right 
to do anything not specifically forbidden in God's 
Word. But they mistake the character and methods 
of the Book. It never paints a perfect picture of a 
horse and then writes under it in large letters, " This 
is a horse." Some books may do that, but the Bible 
never does. 

Of course it contains positive commandments 
which should be reverently obeyed, and many prec- 
ious promises which should be gladly believed. But 
it is especially and pre-eminently the book of Chris- 

256 NoETH Carolina Sermons. 

tiau facts and principles. When we study its pages 
carefully, we find great principles which are stated 
in strong and striking language, and illustrated by 
the most impressive examples; and we are expected 
to take these principles and apply them to the varied 
affairs and practical questions and duties of every- 
day life. The medical and scientific books of former 
ages are now outgrown. At the present time they 
would be regarded as the relics of barbarism. But 
the Bible is never antiquated. It is as well suited 
to one generation as another, because it declares great 
spiritual truths with which all men should be 
familiar, and teaches great spiritual principles by 
which all people of all colors and countries should 
regulate their conduct. We need it not only in our 
homes and mouths, but especially in our hearts. The 
Psalmist said, "Thy word have I hid in mine hearty 
that I might not sin against thee." (Ps. cxix : 11.) If 
all the millions of our great country would take the 
Bible as their guide and teacher, and live in con- 
tented obedience to its precepts and principles, a 
glorious moral revolution would quickly follow. Our 
people would be vastly better and happier than they 
are. Real estate would be worth more, crops would 
be larger, business would be more prosperous, the 
health of the people would be improved, and there 
would not be a criminal or a pauper in this mighty 
republic. This would be " Immanuel's land," and we 
would be a " nation whose God is the Lord." Verily, 
our country would be a suburb of heaven itself. 
Surely the Bible, which can exercise such hallowed 

The Greatest Book in the World. 257 

influences, and do so much for the moral uplifting 
of humanity, is a most wonderful book. 

Is it not the greatest of books ? Mj^riads of books 
have been given to the restless world, but in perma- 
nent value the Bible rises far above all other books, 
because it is the only book which sheds a clear light 
upon the hardest, darkest problems of human life; 
the only one which gives us any definite idea of our 
exalted origin and moral state; the only book in 
which God reveals Himself to us as our Father and 
Saviour; the only book in which we catch bright, 
sweet glimpses of the eternal realities of the future 
world; the only book which teaches " the way of sal- 
vation," and the only book which defines the relations 
which we sustain to God and to each other in the 
present life. 

It was the joy and delight of the ancient Psalmist. 
The portions of it which he possessed were more to 
him " than thousands of gold and silver." But what 
is the Bible in its fullness and completeness to us 
who live now? Do we give it the chance that such 
a book should have ? Do we receive it as God's Holy 
Word and bow to its authority? If we merely lin- 
ger around its outer edges, or speculate upon its mys- 
teries, we may derive little or no benefit from it. But 
if we come to it with an earnest desire to know the 
truth and perform our duty, and a fixed intention to 
do the will of God, it will be to us the Book of Books. 
It will pour the light of heaven into our souls and 
upon our pathway, and will lead us onward and 
upward until, leaving the labors and sorrows of earth 

258 North Carolina Sermons. 

behind us, we will pass through the open gates of 
glory and enter the kingdom of everlasting blessed- 


By Rev. J. W. Jenkins, 

Of the North Carolina Conference M. E. C, S.. 

Sometimes, in the course of our ministrations, it 
is well to preach on Christian character — to present 
religion in life. To preach of Abraham, Moses and 
Paul is very common. But we think that it would 
be well to take humbler characters. Those charac- 
ters tower so far above the common people that they 
dare not aspire to imitate them. But when one 
from the common walks of life is placed before them, 
it will be an inspiration. 

I propose to talk of the master of Onesimus, the 
friend of Paul and of preachers. We have a limited 
field to glean from. Only one short chapter of twen- 
ty-five verses, and nearly half of that written about 
others^ten verses about the servant and about as 
many about the master ; and yet these few lines pre- 
sent a picture of a lovely character and a beautiful 
home. May the Father help me to delineate that 
character and to picture that home ! 

He was a most lovable man in Paul's mind. He 
thanked God for him, and always remembered him 
in his private devotions. He also had great joy and 
consolation in the love of so good a man. The first 

The Model Layman — Philemon. 259 

thing that attracts our attention is his love — (verse 
5) — love to God. " Love is of God," and " God is 
love." We love Him because He first loved us. He 
evidently had the love of God shed abroad in his 
heart by the Hol}^ Ghost sent down from above. 
That love for God which enabled him to keep all of 
Christ's commandments. A pure and heavenly flame 
that transfused the soul, and thrilled it with a divine 
joy. A love that effloresced in a heavenly conversa- 
tion and an active Christian life; that inspired to 
noble, Christ-like deeds. The love that sent Paul to 
fight with beasts at Ephesus, and Peter to the mar- 
tyr's cross. Love to the saints. The evidence of a 
genuinely converted soul. *' We know that we have 
passed from death unto life because we love the breth- 
ren." Of course he loved his race — His Master loved 
them and gave His life for a lost and ruined world. 
So every Christian that truly loves God will love all 
for whom Jesus died — will take the whole world into 
his heart. But, then, blood is thicker than water. 
" The world will love its own and them only" said 
Mr. Wesley. We must love our own, but not them 
only. Take the world into the heart, but the breth- 
ren into its warmest chamber. Jesus loved John the 
best, and committed his weeping, widowed mother 
to his loving care. We have a common birth, a com- 
mon Saviour, a common Father, and a common heri- 
tage — how can we help having a common love? O, 
for more love for one another amid the trials, temp- 
tations and sorrows of life ! How it would light up 
our homes and cheer our hearts amid life's chilling 

260 North Carolina Sermons. 

gloom. Whence came this love? It sprang from a 
living faith. He had faith in God. Evidently, not 
merely mental belief, but a trust of the heart. Saving 
faith. The indispensable means of salvation. The 
faith that lends its realizing light; that brings the 
Invisible in sight; that enables us to look away to 
Calvary and to hang all our hopes upon the Cross. 
To emerge out of Nature's night into the marvelous 
light and liberty of God's dear children. To arise 
and shine, our light being come, and the glory of 
God risen upon us. That faith which grows stronger 
and stronger while the days are going by ; that 
makes a man mighty through God to the pulling 
down of strongholds; that nerves him for every con- 
flict of life, and causes him to triumph on every field 
of fight ; that overcomes the world, the flesh and the 
devil, and that at last smites the grim monster and 
lays its mighty hand upon the golden gates of glory 
and ushers us into the presence of God. Faith in 
the brethren. In these times, w^hen man is losing 
confidence in his fellow, it is pleasant to study the 
life of a man free from suspecting the saints. Woe 
to the world when every man is so mean that he sus- 
pects everybody elsp of being mean like himself. 
There have been honest people in all the ages, and 
there will be to the end of the world. Mutual con- 
fidence is a beautiful thing. How sweet to be able 
to trust a friend. Nothing is so hurtful to the influ- 
ence of the church as mistrust among its members. 
To keep each other's confidence, let us make ourselves 
worthy of it. The man that has faith in God must 

The Model Layman — Philemon. 261 

have it in God's children. As a result of this love 
and faith, " Philemon was faithful in good things" 
(verse 7). Wherefore, by their fruits 5'ou shall know 
them. The light must shine. The faith must work. 
His soul was full of sympathy. He refreshed the 
bowels of the ministry, and of course of the saints. 

The world needs sympathy. Many a heart is 
languishing, breaking for it. There is no sadder 
refrain that breaks from the human soul than that 
of David when he cries, " No man cared for my soul !" 
A touch of sorrow makes the world akin. It wins 
when every other means fails. Who can stand before 
its soft, subduing power. It is the essence of mercy 
and distills its sweetness like the evening dew. He 
was obedient to authority (verse 21). Not only 
willing to obey, but to do more than was required. 
Willing to work with and under others. The church 
of to-da^' is suffering for the want of working lay- 
men. Men and women that will work where they 
are — that will do the nearest thing at hand. That 
will co-operate with the pastor. That will talk and 
sing and pray. That will lend a helping hand. 
The harvest is white, but the laborers are few. The 
fields of the world will never be reaped until the 
laity take hold. 

He was a communicative man (verse 6). Religion 
was the best thing in the world to him. It was the 
pearl of great price. The treasure of the field. He 
had a good thing, and wanted others to have it too. 
He had the clear light, the higher life, the peace 
that passeth understanding, the heartfelt joy, the 

262 North Carolina Sermons. 

abiding faith, the glorious hope, the thrilling love 
and the blessed assurance. He did not hide his 
lightjunder a bushel. He let it shine, that others 
might be guided to the Father. Methodists formerly 
talked their religion. But the class-meeting is 
largely a thing of the past, and we are religious 
dummies. We are ready to talk of everything else. 
We wag our tongues eternally in worldly things, 
often in frivolity and sometimes in sin. We meet 
our fellows along the highways, or sit with them in 
our homes, and never part our lips about the things 
of greatest concern. " Just a word for Jesus ; " how 
much good it would do. We have all heard of the 
infidel blacksmith who was led to Christ by a plain, 
honest man who approached him and simply said, 
" I am deeply concerned for your soul." God help 
us to speak it out, to tell it, tell it again till no one 
shall say of the children of men, " No one has ever 
told me before." Tell it humbly, tell it gently, tell 
it earnestly. 

He dispensed a liberal, benevolent hospitality. A 
hospitality not only to his friends, but those who 
would never be able to return it in kind. The 
pious maiden, Apphia, in her works of faith and labor 
of love, and the superannuated minister, Archippus, 
found a happy home with him. Mark, Aristar- 
chus, Demas and Lucas had found a pleasant lodging 
there, and Paul had rested his weary body upon his 
downy beds, and he longed to lodge again amid its 
sweet influences. This beautiful Southland was 
once noted for its princely hospitality. The world 

The Model Layman — Philemon. 263 

knew nothing to beat it. Things have changed. 
Our fortunes have been swept away. Of course we 
cannot keep up the style of former days. But I am 
happy to sa}'', from blessed experience, that our peo- 
ple's hearts and homes are still open wide to enter- 
tain not only their friends, but strangers. May 
they never be closed ! May the time never come 
when God's ministers and God's poor shall not find 
ready admission into our Christian homes! "He 
that giveth a cup of cold water to a disciple in my 
name shall not lose his reward," said Jesus. A 
stranger knocked at the parsonage door early one 
morning and asked for a piece of bread. He was 
cold and dirty. Wife said come in and warm. 
" No," said he, " I will soil your floor." Little wee 
Annie asked to carry the cold lunch to the stranger. 
As he received it from her little dimpled hands, with 
beaming face and swelling bosom and quivering 
lips he exclaimed with deep emotion, " God bless 
you r' The aroma of that prayer rests upon my 
heart to this day. 

He ruled his household. He evidently exercised 
discipline in his family. He must have been a busi- 
ness man. 

Onesimus was not willing to submit to his regula- 
tions, yet there is no evidence that he was cruel or 
unreasonable. When Onesimus was converted, he 
was ready to return to his master and make repara- 
tion. "A man that is careless in his business will 
be neglectful of his religion." Business and religion 
are not antagonistic. Only let a man carry his reli- 

264 North Carolina Sermons. 

gioa into his e very-day affairs. " Not slothful in 
business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord," is a 
scriptural injunction. 

Lastly, he had a church in his house (verse 2). 
Doubtless he was a member of some church, and yet 
he constituted his family into a church. Father, 
mother, sister, brother, servants and sojourners, all 
members. One, long before him, the father of the 
faithful, had commanded his house. Another, one 
of earth's bravest and best, had said, "As for me and 
my house, we will serve the Lord." The great need 
of the world is home religion. This is the primi- 
tive kind. Wherever Abraham pitched his tent, there 
he erected an altar. A home without an altar is a 
house without a fire-place. Family prayer is the 
incense of the home; the evening and morning sac- 
rifice, the perpetual fire that burns in the sanctuary 
of our homes, and sheds its light upon our minds 
and its glow upon our hearts. 

The subject of my discourse presents to my mind 
a beautiful picture. I see a godly man, with heav- 
enly light in his eyes and serenity upon his brow. 
The intelligent face, the firm step, all said that the 
elements were so mixed in him that the world 
might stand up and say, " This is a man." The 
evening shadows have fallen around his beautiful 
home; the business cares of the day are over, the 
fowls are on the perch, the flocks are in the fold and 
the herds are in the stall; supper is over, the time 
for retiring has come, the call to worship is made ; 
the devoted wife, the bounding boys, the fair-faced 

The Model Layman — Philemon. 265 

daughters, the faithful domestics and the deferential 
guests gather in the parlor; he takes the Book ; he 
reads the Word ; he strikes up some grand old hymn ; 
wife, children, guests, servents all chime in ; melting 
melody floats away on the night air; the trees tremble 
with gladness, and the very stars quiver with joy, 
while the angels pause in their heavenly flight and 
join their glad anthems to the swelling strains. The 
song ceases. They devoutly kneel. A soft, subdued 
voice ascends on high. He calls upon the Father to 
bless his home. To bless wife, children, servants and 
friends. Commits all to the care of Him who careth 
for him. The filial kiss, the sweet " good-night " passes 
around. They lie down to soft repose upon the 
bosom of His love, under the shadow of his wing. 
The sentinels of God guard the sacred scene, and the 
angel of peace hovers over that home. 

I pen these lines upon the spot that gave me birth. 
A real scene akin to this comes up before me. The 
manly father, the meek-eyed mother, the bright, 
affectionate brothers and sisters, the old family Bible, 
the songs, the prayers; all, all are here to-day. That 
light has never faded from my eye; that music has 
never died out of my soul; they have cheered me 
through all my pilgrim life; they will go with me 
to the gates of glory. God speed the day when the 
family altar shall be set up in every Christian home! 

266 North Carolina Sermons. 



By Rev. G. A. Oglesby, 

Presiding Elder of the North Carolina Conference M. E. C. S. 

" Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they 
are written for ovir admonition upon whom the ends of the world are 
come."— 1 CoK. x : 11. 

"The literal Greek is typically; that is illus- 
tratively." We are here presented with a type or 
illustration of God's method of dealing with men. 
World is, in the Greek, plural, making ends of the 
worlds. The word signifies age or dispensation ; 
implying a cycle of time in which some great round 
of providence is accomplished. Hence, if the word 
here be rendered world, it must be understood to sig- 
nify not cosmos, the material world, but a world- 
period, or time-world. These ages or time-worlds of 
sacred history can be variously measured. We may 
reckon the antediluvian period as world ; the Patri- 
archal ; the Mosaic and the Christian." We have 
here the ending of all these, or rather their converg- 
ing into the present final age. This is the age for 
which all previous ages, as time-worlds, were framed. 
All previous ages find this antetype in the present 
age. By " all these things " we are to understand 
the things enumerated in this chapter. How they 
were under the cloud, were all baptized unto Moses, 
all ate the same spiritual meat, drank the same 

* Preached before Washington District Conference at Williamston' 
N. C, June 12, IS'M. Its publication was requested by the Conference- 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 267 

spiritual drink, and especially God's sore punish- 
ment of their sins. 

The whole history of this people was written for 
our admonition, instruction. It is both representa- 
tive and admonitive. Representative of God's divine 
superintendence, admonitive of His judgments 
against sin. Here we see how God wrought miracles 
in their defence — to free them from bondage, how 
He led them with a pillar of cloud by day, of fire 
by night, fed them upon manna, gave them quails 
for meat, made the flinty rock to yield them water, 
saved them from the deadly bites of serpents, gave 
them victory over their enemies until the hearts of 
the nations melted within them at the mention of 
their name. Here we see how His sore judgments 
came upon every offender, not sparing even their 
leader, Moses. 

"Upon whom the ends of the world are come." 
The idea we wish to enforce is the growing resjDon- 
sibility of the ages. God expects more of us to-day 
than of any previous age. All the past has come 
down to us. We are the heirs of these things. As 
we live in the last dispensation, which is the con- 
summation of all that went before, our responsibilities 
are not only far greater, but the greater guilt will be 
incurred if we fall short of our privileges. 

" I the heir of all the ages in the foremost files of time." 

Chrysostom, in exile, said: "When driven from 
the city I cared nothing for it. Bat I said to myself 
if the Empress wishes to banish me, the earth is the 

268 North Carolina Sermons. 

Lord's and the fullness thereof. If she would saw 
me in sunder, let her saw me in sunder; I have 
Isaiah for a pattern. If she plunge me in the sea, I 
remember Jonah. If she would thrust me in the 
fiery furnace, I see the three children enduring that. 
If she would cast me to the wild beasts, I call to mind 
Daniel in the den of lions. If she would stone me, 
let her stone me; I have before me Stephen the 
protomartyr. If she would take my head from me, 
let her take it ; I have John the Baptist. If she 
would deprive me of my worldly goods, let her do it; 
naked came I into the world and naked shall I 
return." From this we see how this great and good 
man took courage, from illustrious examples, in 
whatever condition the Empress might see fit to 
place him. 

The idea has a special application to us. We not 
only have, in common with all Christians, the exam- 
ples, types, as illustrations of God's power and 
goodness and of His condemnation of sin and sin- 
ners, but we are the heirs of the grandest movement 
of the ages. The grandest epoch in the world's his- 
tory, excepting the coming of Christ, is the Wesleyan. 
Methodism was born in a prayer-meeting, it is true, 
but a prayer-meeting of cultured men in one of the 
leading institutions of England. What a mighty 
movement this ! How these people were all on fire 
and yet did not lose their judgment. Every avail- 
able avenue to the hearts and homes of the people 
was employed. Colleges were founded, churches 
erected, papers, magazines, tracts, pamphlets and 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 269 

books were published and extensively and vigorously 
circulated, missionary collections were taken and 
missionaries sent abroad. One is disposed to over- 
look these facts as he reads of Wesley and Whitfield 
with burning eloquence moving and swaying the 
multitude upon the streets and in the fields. This 
movement — with the world, state, church and the 
devil against it, and not a few said the Lord was 
against it — stirred England from centre to circum- 
ference; so changed the machinery of government 
and wove itself into its institutions, that the history 
of England cannot be written to-day without writing 
the history of Methodism. England could not hold 
it; crossing the Atlantic it rolled down through the 
colonies like a sea of holy fire; and as a tidal wave 
of glory it found its way to the islands of the 
seas — holds the world in its embrace, for the sun 
never sets upon Methodist chapels. 

Methodism is the grandest fact in this great coun- 
try of ours. One-third of the people of these United 
States are under its influence and are allied with it. 

Surely, the Lord was in this movement. To it is 
due, more than to all other forces combined, the great 
missionary movement of this century ; so, largely, 
of the Sabbath-school movement; and the tract socie- 
ties owe no little of their existence and life to Meth- 
odism. The doctrines of Spiritual regeneration, the 
knowledge of sins forgiven, and holiness, without 
which no man shall see the Lord, are peculiar to it, 
and distinguish it from all others. 

270 North Carolina Sermons. 

A grand record this. In the providence of God 
it has been written for our admonition. These things 
have come upon us. He who is ignorant of them is 
culpable, and he who is not stirred b}' them is doubly 
guilty. There is much here, ever}^ way, of which to 
boast — much to admire. We feel like taking off our 
hats in the presence of the men and women whom 
God thus honored, and through whom He wrought 
such wonders. But shall we wonder, admire and 
applaud, and not be stirred by these things? I have 
not called j'our attention to them merely to boast. 
It is true, I thank God that I have been accounted 
worthy to have part in the ministry of a church 
that, tried by every Scriptural test, is the most di- 
vinely appointed, heaven-favored and God-blessed 
church in the world, but I am not here to parade 
these things — to make display. We cannot live upon 
display. The sorriest man in the world is he wdio 
would live solely upon the achievements of his father. 
Of all the contemptible fellows the world is ever 
cursed with, he is most contemptible who parts his 
hair in the middle, swaggers about, talks in balder- 
dash, and expects recognition and patronage because 
his father, by dint of effort, climbed from the dung- 
hill to the mansion. A church that relies solely 
upon its past record, and seeks patronage and invites 
men and women to become its communicants upon 
what it has been, without regard to what it is and 
gives promise of, is just as mean and contemptible. 

AVe hear of a dead past, but the past is dead only 
to dead men and fools. To live men the past is ter- 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 271 

ribly alive a great surging, throbbing, beating sea 
of life. I am no bero-worshiper, but they who read 
the life of John Wesley unmoved are dead indeed; 
or of Whitfield, and desire not the eloquence of holy 
fervor, are unworthy of their calling; or of Fletcher, 
and not desire holiness of life, are sinners of deepest 

It is well that we pause here and take our reckon- 
ing. Let us be honest with ourselves, as those that 
must give an account. As men of God, as preachers 
and laymen, are we up to the standard? Have we 
the faith, the life, the power, the fire, the zeal, the go 
that should characterize redeemed men and women 
who have become the heirs of all the grand past, and 
especiall}'' the heirs of that matchless display of 
divine grace exhibited in the Wesleyan movement? 
We are not only the heirs of God's grace offered in 
Christ to a guilty world, but the heirs of the exhibi- 
tions of it from the time of righteous Abel through 
the Patriarchal, Mosaic, Prophetic and Apostolic ages, 
and down to this grand, glad day of ours, when the 
watchmen are almost ready to proclaim the coming 
of complete and universal victory. 

If the victories of Miltiades would not suffer The- 
mistocles to sleep, how dead must that church mem- 
ber be who slumbers in the presence of these things! 
If Csesar's image inspired Napoleon, how unworthy 
those ministers and laymen who, never inspired, are 
always learning and never coming to a knowledge of 
the truth! 

272 North Carolina Sermons. 

Brethren, it is a glorious, and 3^et an awful thing 
to live in this our day — glorious to those who meet 
its responsibilities and opportunities, but awful to 
those who read but will not learn ! As ministers of 
Christ, what sore condemnation awaits us if untrue 
to our mission ! 

I have, in the fear of God, tried to study the situ- 
ation and get at the facts, and they lead to the fol- 
lowing coi^clusions: 

1, That there is a want of breadth of view, and an 
absence of faith in God and in the power of His 
Word. We have not looked well to the import of 
our marching orders. We have practically abridged 
the commission. The Master said, "Go ye into all 
the world and preach the gospel to every creature^ Our 
plans do not measure up to this. Practically, we 
have made all the world to mean part of it. We 
have gulped down the hackneyed, unscriptural 
dogma, that " charity begins at home." Every crea- 
ture means some creatures. Some men are recog- 
nized as reprobates, and we never pray for them nor 
preach to them. We have practically limited the 
power of the gospel to save to children and the 
petted portion of the adult population. God can 
save the worst man in this town as easily as the boy of 
ten summers. But this is not our question primarily. 
Whether God can or cannot save, whether willing or 
unwilling to bestow mercy, and whether men accept 
or reject, we must go. God has said "go into all the 
world," to "every creature." To the poor drunkard, 
to the libertine, the liar, the thief, the money-shark — 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 273 

all must have the gospel. No question of ours 
whethen they come or not; God has sent' us to them, 
and we must go or be disobedient. The question is 
not whether they will come, but whether we can 
save our souls without preaching the gospel to them. 
The command is go, and we must go or die. It may 
be hard and unpleasant; against our judgment, our 
sense of propriety ; it may provoke the world's ridi- 
cule, but it is God's order and must be obeyed at all 

2. There is a consequent disposition to fall into 
ruts and become stereotyped. We do the things that 
are easily done and avoid diflScult things. We neg- 
lect the homes that most need us, and go to the peo- 
ple who are going to heaven whether the preacher 
visits them or not. In nothing else is so much weak- 
ness displayed, so little wisdom seen. Truly the 
children of this world are in this generation wiser 
than the children of light. The physician gives 
medicine to the sick, we to those that are well. The 
politician visits and seeks to make converts from the 
enemy's ranks, and only visits his friends to 
enthuse them and point out some work for them to 
do. The wise general fortifies his weak points, the 
man of business seeks new customers and new 
markets for his wares. The prudent farmer stops 
the holes in his fence and builds up the low places. 
But we who ought to be wise as serpents and harm- 
less as doves go round in regular tread-mill style. 
See the fence down here, the briar and bramble 
growing up there, the tares choking the wheat 

274 North Carolina Sermons. 

yonder, and burden our reports with a recital of 
these facts, but never think of trying to correct them. 
This would be something new under the sun, would 
take us out of our way, would require us to go where 
there is no beaten way. 

3. We are wanting in tact as pastors. We do not 
overrate the importance of revivals, but underrate 
the value of continued personal effort to save souls. 
I say we are wanting in this capacity. We are not 
skilled. Ministers of other churches beat us catch- 
ing fish with hook and line. It does not meet the 
case to say we catch more than they in the long run. 
Our failure or success is not measured by the record 
of other ministers. We must do all we can, always 
at work, in season and out, and by every available 
method. Our failure here is due more to our want 
of skill than to our unwillingness to do work. In 
nothing else we do, do we so much need to heed the 
injunction of the apostle, "Study to make yourself 
a workman thatneedeth not to be ashamed, approved 
of God." If you ask me how to become skilled as 
pastors, I answer I know no way except to go at it. 
Study men, their tempers, their dispositions, habits, 
and pray God to give you access to them. Let us bear 
in mind, brethren, that ours is a work where no task 
can be shunned, a warfare where flinching is not 
allowed. Men that will not do this work must go 
to the wall. We must thoroughly furnish ourselves 
to every good word and work, or be covered with 
shame, confusion and endless condemnation. " He 
that seeth the wolf coming and fleeth is an hireling 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 275 

and not the shepherd of the sheep The good shep- 
herd giveth his life for the sheep." 

4. Be it said to our shame, brethren, that we have 
not been diligent, as the Lord counts diligence, even 
in those things which we propose to do. It may 
not be charged upon preachers that they are lazy. 
Heaven's eternal pity be upon the man that has been 
trusted to watch for souls and sleeps upon his oars.. 
The English language has no word to express my 
contempt for such a man. While it is true that we 
may not be charged with downright laziness, yet we 
are not the live, diligent, faithful men that our calling 
demands. We may count our beads and number 
our prayers, but we must plead guilty. The church 
contemplated unceasing endeavor when it gave us 
our authority and sent us out. It took a solemn 
pledge from us never to be unemployed, never to be 
triflingly employed; to be diligent in prayer, in the 
study of the Scriptures, and cheerfully and gladly 
do the work belonging to the office of the gospel 
minister. No set of men are under higher moral 
obligations than Methodist preachers. If the people 
had a right to choose their pastors, they have given 
it up. They are expected to receive whoever is sent, 
and give him moral and pecuniary support. They 
must needs suffer if he is heartless and unfaithful. 
The church has wisely arranged to guard its interests 
here, making such neglect an immorality. 

" The member of an Annual Conference, as such, 
has a franchise and prerogative which a local preacher 
has not, and more is required of him. To him per- 

276 North Carolina Sermons. 

tains the pastoral care and administration of dis- 
cipline. There is a provision for his support by the 
church while in its active service ; and also for his 
wants as a superannuated preacher, and for those of 
his widow and orphans. He is under vows to employ 
all his time in the work of God ; and not only to 
work, but to do that part of the work and at those 
times and places which the church through her con- 
stituted authorities judges to be best and directs. He 
voluntarily continues among those subject to appoint- 
ment. At any time before the laborers are assigned 
to the various fields, he could retire regularly. After- 
wards to refuse to attend to the work assigned, is to 
cease to travel without the consent of the Annual 
Conference. This strikes a vital blow at the itiner- 
ant system. If one may do this, so may others ; the 
appointments fall through, the congregations are dis- 
persed, and by reason of this negligence 'great hurt 
and hindrance' may befall the church. He breaks 
his covenant with the Conference and the church ; 
and whoever does this is liable to be broken of his 
office and even to be degraded from the ministry. 
The people surrendered their right to supply them- 
selves with a pastor and looked to the Conference. 
The Conference engaged to suppl}' them and looked 
to this man, and he has not fulfilled his engagement. 
Every itinerant is under covenant with the church 
for pastoral services, at least, till the next session of 
Conference. The church, as she values her economy, 
has guarded this point strongly, and whoever violates 
it ought to be well prepared to answer for it to his 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 277 

brethren. Having refused to keep his appointment,, 
the Conference may place him in the class of minis- 
ters who are not subject to appointment; or he may 
be censured by suspension ; or, in an aggravated case 
of ministerial unfaithfulness, he may be deposed." 
Manual of Discipline, pages 142, 143. 

5. We fail, largel}^ to properly appreciate the 
value of lay help. No preacher can succeed without 
the co-operation of his people. If your people, from 
indifference, want of information, or from any cause 
fail to co-operate with you, your first work is to secure 
this end. If a preacher remains any considerable 
time on a work, hauling his church in a one-horse 
wagon — to use Sam Jones' figure — while they ply 
the lash, it requires all our credulity to accept his 
claim to a call to the ministry. God never called a 
fool to preach, and he is a fool if he does not ditch 
such a crowd as that before he goes a mile. I have 
no apology for the sins of the people, but if they are 
not right it is our business to correct them. We are 
leaders, and if they do not follow it is our fault. 
There is a key that will unlock every heart — a plan 
by which every man will work. It is folly to go 
forward without the people, as unwise as a general 
charging the enem}^ while his men lie in camp. We 
must plant ourselves here and stay until we have 
taken the citadel. We must show the people that 
we mean business; that we are worthy leaders; that 
we are determined to succeed — and they will follow, 
if for no other reason, because of our importunity. 
We must employ the laity. We need all the force 

278 North Carolina Sermons. 

we can command. We must point them out some- 
thing to do, and see that they do it. Wesley's unpre- 
cedented success is attributable almost wholly to this 
fact. He put the people to work, men and women. 
He wisely concluded that everybody was good for 
something, and sought to put everyone in his proper 
place. A comparison of the ministry of Wesley 
with that of Whitfield gives us a striking illustration. 
In no particular was Whitfield inferior to Wesley. 
Strong, cultured, systematic, faithful, eloquent — 
almost without a peer as a preacher of the Word — 
crowds flocked to hear him, and souls were converted 
by the hundred under his ministry. But he did not 
organize. Wesley did. The Wesleyan Methodists 
are counted by the million to-day, while there is only 
a handful of Whitfield Methodists. Indeed, Whit- 
field would be without organic representation in the 
world to-day, had not Lady Huntington organized 
some of his converts into classes — after Wesley's 
plan — and built them chapels. 

I would speak further touching this question, and 
show the importance of employing the laymen in all 
departments of church work, especially in prayer 
and class-meetings, Sabbath-schools, mission socie- 
ties, and make special reference to woman's work for 
missions, but we hope to have these questions dis- 
cussed the Conference. 

6. Again, brethren, I fear we have not tarried at 
Jerusalem until we have been endowed with power. 
We have gone a warfare on our own charges, have 
trusted too much to purely human means. We have 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 279 

not felt our need of the holy anointing. There is an 
absence of the old-time power. We have more cul- 
ture in the aggregate, perhaps, but less power, more 
that is purely human and less of the divine. " Ye 
shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is 
come upon you, and then witnesses unto me." If the 
disciple apostle who had been trained by the Mas- 
ter Himself needed this power, verily we need it. 
Human nature is the same, sin is just as deeply 
rooted in the hearts of the people, the obstructions to 
the progress of the gospel, though different, are as 
numerous and formidable now as then. The devil 
is no less a devil because appearing in the form of 
an angel of light, and has not abated one iota of his 
efforts to damn immortal souls. As ministers we 
need the baptism of the spirit, power from above. 
To go without it is the purest folly, is to violate the 
divine order. 

1. We need it to sanctify us, cleanse us from sin. 
It is one office of the spirit to give purity. The very 
emblems employed to represent Him convey this 
idea. Fire, air and water, all signify purity. " He 
shall baptize you," said John, " with the Holy Ghost 
and with fire, whose fan is in his hand and He will 
thoroughly purge His floor." As men of God, 
embassadors of Christ, we must be pure men, pure 
in thought, word and deed. Our characters should 
be as transparent as crystal. We should reflect the 
glory of God. 

I stopped a short time since at Cape Hatteras light- 
house, one of the most important light-houses on the 

280 North Carolina Sermons. 

Atlantic coast. The building is two hundred feet 
high, a magnificent structure. The lens, of several 
hundred pieces, alone cost two thousand dollars. 
The object is to keep the sailor from wrecking his 
craft on the Diamond Shoals, some twelve miles 
away, a sea in which no boat will live long. But 
with nothing was I more struck than with the clean- 
liness of every thing. It is the cleanest place I have 
seen in North Carolina, not only in the light-house 
itself, but in the homes of the keepers there is the 
utter absence of dust, stains and every thing of the 
sort. In the kitchens, bed-rooms, sitting-rooms, 
every where your eye falls there is cleanliness. Why 
is this? First of all, the keepers are nice, cleanly 
people. Then the government requires it, and an 
inspector visits the place, often comes when not 
expected, to see that it is done. Why all this care 
and expense? The purpose is to prevent the loss of 
life and property. The finest lens in the world 
would be unable to throw its light out to sea if cov- 
ered with dust. But why be so cleanly and neat in 
their dwellings, which are some seventy-five yards 
from the light-house? Because if not free from dust 
in their homes they will carry it w-ith them into the 
light-house. If this care and painstaking be neces- 
sary to prevent the loss of life and property, how 
pure and spotless ought we to be who watch for 
souls. How careful that our light always burns 
brightly. If we do not keep pure in our homes and 
among our people we will not be pure in the pulpit. 
If our souls be covered with the dust of sin during 

The Gkowing Responsibility, etc. 281 

the week, we will bring the dust into the pulpit on 
the Sabbath to obscure the light of divine truth. 

2. But we need the baptism of the Spirit to give 
power. "And ye shall receive power after that the 
Holy Ghost is come upon you." I stood, a few days 
since, beside the casket that contained the remains of 
a, sweet little girl, while a devoted brother bent over 
her form and sobbed aloud with grief. Except the 
pallor upon the cheek, there was every sign of life. 
She looked as if only asleep. Every feature was per- 
fect, and the little lips looked as if ready to speak. 
But it was only the form of the little girl's real self. 
The spirit was gone, and there was no power there. 
Likewise, we may have the form of godliness, cul- 
ture, clerical coats, clerical airs, holy tones, much 
eloquence; may have the best church machinery in 
the world, every accomplishment, every appliance, 
but if without the Spirit we are dead, powerless, 
useless. " We are as salt without its savor, fit only 
for the dunghill." The absence of power implies 
weakness. The absence of a life-giving implies a 
life destroying quality. A minister without this qual- 
ification is a disgrace to his calling, and will leave a 
trail of death everywhere he goes. We must so 
preach the Word as to save ourselves and them 
that hear us. To lose our congregations is to lose 
our own souls. With this power we can take this 
country for Chirst; without it, we can stand and 
gaze and wonder and perish, see it perish and perish 
with it. 

282 North Carolina Sermons. 

A thousand-and-one remedies are offered to put the 
church in first-class shape for work : one wants more 
education, more culture; another, better houses of 
worship, others think certain changes in the laws 
would relieve all difficulties. These things are not 
to be despised, but the need of needs is the Spirit of 
God — power from above. The ministers need it, the 
church needs it, and we must have it, or sinners will 
go to hell by the thousand, and we with them. You 
may call it the second blessing, the tenth or the twen- 
tieth, but we need it. We are out of harmony with 
God's rule without it. A few humble fishermen, ignor- 
ant and unlearned, were invincible with it; were 
cowards without it. Peter, without it, denied his Lord; 
with it endured stripes, imprisonment and death. 

We may not, dare not, go to this work without prep- 
aration, the best we can make, all that study and 
prayer will supply, coupled with God-given power. 
The warrior is prepared for the battle, drilled at 
school, in camp, and not only supplied with the 
munitions of war, but his soul is fired with patriot- 
ism and ambition. He fills himself with the heroic 
deeds of the great warriors until he pants for the 
field of conflict, and longs to wear the laurels of 
victory. The statesman is prepared for his work; 
the architect spends years in preparation, so of the 
artist, the teacher, the physician. Much more should 
we, for ours is a far more important and more diffi- 
cult work than theirs. 

Finally, ray brethren, the fact that ours is the 
noblest, the most exalted of callings, and the cer- 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 283 

tainty of ultimate success, should beget diligence, 
enthusiasm, zeal. 

Stimulated by all the hallowed influences that 
pour down upon us from every age of the past, 
inspired by thes prospect of certain and glorious vic- 
tory, ennobled by the character of the work, and 
empowered by our God, let us go forth to take this 
country for Christ. One has said, "In the past the 
world's heroes were its great warriors — its destroyers; 
but its heroes of to-day are its saviours — God's mes- 
sengers." Who does not applaud the heroic endeav- 
ors of the old statesmen ? But they built nations and 
empires, grand though they were, only to see them 
crumble into ruins. He is dead, indeed, who is not 
stirred by the splendid achievements in the world of 
art, painting, drawing, statuary. So in the world of 
letters ; so of architecture. How grandly these things 
display the wonderful capabilities of the human mind^ 
and yet how tame compared with the work God has 
sent us to do. These things are splendid in their 
sphere, but ours begins upon a far higher plane. 
These are human creations, fashioned after human 
models, the products of splendid genius, but ours is 
after a divine model, born of infinite love and infi- 
nite wisdom. The material wrought into all human 
inventions is of the earth earthy, and subject to 
decay; ours is spiritual, to be changed from glory 
to glory. 

Not so with God's messengers. We fight not as 
those that beat the air. We toil, but not in vain. 
We sow with the assurance that we shall reap. " For 

284 North Carolina Sermons. 

as the rain Cometh down, and the snow from heaven, 
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, 
and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give 
seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall 
my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth ; it 
shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish 
that which I please, and shall prosper in the thing 
whereto I sent it. He that goeth forth and weepeth, 
bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again 
with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. 

Here we are assured of certain harvest, but we 
must bear in mind that the reaping will be propor- 
tioned to the sowing. He that soweth sparingly, 
shall reap sparingly. A cup of cold water, a little 
refreshing, brings its reward. The smallest affairs 
are carefully noted. Mere crumbs of truth scattered 
here and there are as bread cast upon the waters, 
that shall be gathered up in the day of reaping. 
But if we would have an abundant harvest, we must 
sow abundantly. "He that soweth bountifully shall 
reap also bountifully." Lord, we have left all and 
followed thee; what shall we have therefor? What 
shall we have? "You shall sit on twelve thrones, 
judging the twelve tribes of Israel;" all that you have 
lost shall be centupled to you. " There is no man 
that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, 
or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall 
not receive manifold more in this present time, 
and in the world to come life everlasting." We 
have the sacrifice, the toil, the weeping here. And 
who but a faithful minister knows the import of these 

The Growing Responsibility, etc. 285 

words, " hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or 
wife, or children"? Many of us, it is true, have 
neither houses or lands to leave, but we have what is 
infinitely more precious — father, mother, brothers or 
sisters, or wife and children. Who knows the bitter 
struggle through which we passed to conquer pride, 
ambition, love of ease and self-indulgence ; to make 
our wills submissive, our hearts obedient to the 
heavenly calling ; with what fear and trembling we left 
our homes and loved ones for our first fields of labor. 
But, thank God, we have demonstrated the truth of 
that paradox, "If thou wouldst be cheerful be sad." 
God filled our eyes, these earthly vessels, full to the 
brim with bitter tears, and then turned the water of 
tears into the wine of joy. This, indeed , is a " repent- 
ance not to be repented of" "A holy mourning out 
of which eternal joy doth grow." How true the 
promise of our Master: manifold more in this present 
life. We left one home, we have a thousand ; a few 
friends, and have many — some of whom would die 
for us any day. Who among us has not found fathers, 
and mothers, and brothers, and sisters by the score? 
But the Master in this, as in every feast, has left the 
best wine for the last. " Life everlasting : " * * * 
"shall come again bringing his sheaves with him." 
We have sown some seed — sown it in weakness and 
with weeping. Sown far too scantily and with much 
trepidation; but, thank God, we have sown, and the 
harvest is sure. All things else may fail — must ulti- 
mately fail ; but God's word cannot. 

286 North Carolina Sermons. 

You may be without visible seals to your ministry, 
though that is a rare exception; but toil on brother, 
God will take care of the precious seed, and the 
angels will gather the harvest by and by. 


By Rev. J. J. Hall, D. D., 

Pastor of Raleigh Baptist Tabernacle. 

" Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come 
unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them."— Hebrews vii : 25. 

Jesus our Saviour is a theme that will never wear 
out, nor will it lose its attractive power to the Chris- 
tian. Do we not connect the salvation of a soul 
almost exclusively with the dying or the dead Christ ? 
Here we find the writer associating it with the liv- 
ing Christ, the risen Lord, the exalted One. He is 
able to save to the uttermost, because " He ever 

Jesus on the Cross must ever appeal to our love 
and gratitude, and to behold Him there is to see the 
great procuring cause of our redemption. " God forbid 
that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord and 
Saviour." And yet it does seem peculiarly fitting 
that our risen Lord should bestow salvation. If on 
the cross, when His hands and feet were nailed, when 
He appeared in utter helplessness, so that He 
responded not to the jeers of His enemies when they 
taunted Him with the words, "He saved others; 

The Living Saviour. 287 

Himself He cannot save. If Thou be the Christ 
come down from the cross." 0, if then He could 
fling wide open the gates of glory and say to the pen- 
itent thief at His side, '' To-day shalt thou be with 
me in Paradise," how much more can He now, after 
having triumphed over death, hell and the grave, 
give eternal life to all who believe on Him ? 

To-night Christ appears to you as the risen, 
ascended, exalted Lord ; as He who was dead, but is 
alive forevermore. It is the risen Christ who is able 
to save. He has been manifesting His power from 
the time He ascended on high to the present hour, 
and you can surely trust Him. 

A risen Christ bestowing salvation presents to us 
two or three interesting thoughts, to which I invite 
your attention. 

1. We see Him bestowing upon the needy such bless- 
ings as He has purchased for them at a great cost. 

Peter tells us that " we are redeemed not with cor- 
ruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with 
the precious blood of Christ." And Paul says, " Ye 
are bought with a price." The price paid involved 
much — all that is included in the humiliation of the 
Son of God. He who was rich for our sake became 
poor. The lowly birth of Bethlehem, the opposition 
met, the sufferings endured, the agony of the cross, 
being made a curse for us — 

" There's not a gift His hand bestows, 
But cost His heart a groan." 

288 North Carolina Sermons. 

And having purchased by the sacrifice of love 
blessings for the perishing, He invites us to come 
and receive them. 0, that the sinner might know 
how welcome he is to pardon, peace, strength, hope 
and eternal life. 

I see a man of means who has become interested ' 
in some men imprisoned for debt, such as was com- 
mon in days gone by. He learns their liabilities, 
and, at a great cost to himself, discharges the same^ 
secures the receipt and takes it to the unfortunates, 
entreating them to obtain their discharge and go 
free. Some, with tears in their eyes, hear the news 
with joy, while others turn sullenly away from him. 
Christ Jesus, knowing the great cost of redemption, 
having met that cost on the cross, now lives to 
bestow that blessing upon all who come to Him to 
receive it. 

Christ the Conqueror. As the great Conqueror our 
risen Lord gives salvation to all who believe on Him. 
To-day let us look upon our Saviour, not as the one 
despised and rejected of men, with bare back receiv- 
ing cruel flagellation, nor with hands tied and a 
crown of thorns upon His brow. 

" The head that once was crowned with thorns 
Is crowned with glory now ; 
A royal diadem adorns 
The mighty Victor's brow." 

"When he ascended on high he led captivity cap- 
tive" that He might bestow gifts unto men. He 
went up as the triumphant One. Behold Him on 

The Living Saviour. 289 

Mount Olivet after His resurrection. He is convers- 
ing with His disciples, and while His hands are 
raised to bless them He commences to ascend ; higher 
and higher He rises; the astonished disciples gaze 
upward as His body seems smaller and smaller ta 
their view. But look ! the very battlements of 
heaven are thronged with angels who are gazing 
down upon this strange scene, and one enquires, 
"Who is this coming up from the earth?" And the 
answer is, "The King of glory." "Lift up your 
heads, ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlast- 
ing doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 
Who is this King of glory ? The Lord strong and 
mighty; the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your 
heads, ye gates, even lift them up ye everlasting 
doors, and the King of glory shall come in. Who 
is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the 
King of glory." 

Christ the Conqueror is a view of our Lord we do 
not often take, but it is a very old and a most pre- 
cious one. Far back in the Garden of Eden it was 
predicted that He should " bruise the serpent's head."' 
With the foot of a victor will He tread down Satan. 
In after years Isaiah, the prophet, enquired, "Who 
is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments 
from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, 
traveling in the greatness of his strength? " This 
is but a picture of our victorious Lord. He has 
entered the enemy's land. He fought our foes for us, 
and vanquished them by His power. What are your 
ememies? Unbelief? Drink? Despondency? You 

290 North Carolina Sermons. 

have no right to be overcome by them. You can- 
not subdue them. But Christ hath done it. 0, come 
to Him, for He hath won the victory for you. 

It was an old custom to divide the spoils. The 
great general would call his officers around him after 
the victory and be lavish with his gifts. Do you 
think the Captain of our salvation wishes to keep 
all He has obt;^ined? Nay, He won the battle for 
us — sin and Satan, death and the grave are conquered 
foes. 0, that you might share in the shouts of tri- 
umph ! 

II. Our risen Lord secures salvation for us, in that He 

has already entered heaven and there appears in the 

presence of God for us. 

This is the underlying thought of the text, in 
which He is presented as our Advocate on high. 

And surely we all need such a one. We are weak, 
sinful and ignorant. God is great and holy. Shall 
we rush into His presence? Can we plead innocence 
before Him? Surely not. And, beloved, how pre- 
cious that we need not go alone. The intercessory 
work of Christ may not be easy for us to compre- 
hend, but whatever mystery there is about it is a 
mystery of mercy. " Such a high priest became us, 
who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from 
sinners." And such a high priest we have in Jesus 

" Five bleeding wounds He bears, 
Received on Calvary, 
They pour effectual prayers — 
They strongly plead for me, 
Forgive Him, 6 ! forgive, they cry, 
Nor let that ransomed sinner die." 

The Living Saviour. 291 

We are saved because of that which He has done 
for us. His claims are admitted in the highest court 
in the universe. 

By the bestowment of salvation the glory of our 
risen Lord is greatly promoted. Why is He called 
Jesus? To save His people from their sins. This is 
His great work *now. He is exalted a Prince and a 
Saviour. By it He receives honor, love and praise. 
And, then, this work is His delight. The physician 
is made glad when his patients recover; the bene- 
factor rejoices when destitution gives way to plenty 
and he beholds smiles of gladness on the face down 
which the tear of sorrow fell. So the joy of Jesus is 
realized when He bestows the great blessings of His 
love upon those who stand in great spiritual need. 

In conclusion, I would say, these views ought to 
make the Saviour very near and precious to us. We 
have a living Christ. Supposing my child received 
a serious injury, and a friend said to me, "I knew a 
very skillful surgeon who made a specialty of just 
such cases as your son. I am sure that he cured many 
persons like your boy." "Where is he?" I enquire. 
"0!"says my friend, "he is dead; been dead for 
many years." It does me no good to know that he 
once lived and had great success. Tell me of one 
now who is able to help. A dead Christ cannot save. 
As a living Saviour He has as much power to say, 
"thy sins are forgiven thee," as when He walked 
this earth of ours. 

Here then, is hope for all. No soul need despair. 
He is " able to save to the uttermost." God only 

292 North Carolina Sermons. 

knows what that uttermost is. Many sins weigh 
upon you; years of guilt condemn you; weakness 
has come to you and the outlook is dark. But, cheer 
up, ! soul, there is a mighty Saviour. 

But the question after all is, Has He saved you ? 
You could go into a certain home in New York 
city and look upon a framed telegram. It has in 
the message but one word, and that is, "Saved." 
There is an exciting story connected with it. How 
a vessel was wrecked, many passengers found a 
watery grave. One was saved, and immediately 
upon reaching land he sent on the message to his 
loved ones, " Saved ! " ! has this been sent heaven- 
ward for you? Is it written on your heart? Do 
men see it as you walk these streets that you are a 
saved person? If not, why not be saved to-night? 

In the year 1865 the Atlantic Cable was lost at 
sea. Three vessels, the Great Eastern, Medway and 
the Albany went out in search for it. They sank 
the grapnel two miles and a half deep. At last it 
was found, and great was the joy ; but it slipped and 
down it went. For two weeks longer the search was 
continued. Again it was found, and in breathless 
excitement it was brought up. This time they 
fastened it, and soon found it was responsive, and 
that by it a message could be sent. I am grappling 
for souls to-night. ! that I could find on your 
part some expression of desire, of hope, and of faith. 
May Christ save every one of you. 

The Lost Legacy. 293 


By Rev, P. H. Fleming, 

Pastor of the Christian Church at Grahara, N. C. 

" And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall 
they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall 
take up serpents; and If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt 
them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."— Mark 
xvi : 17, 18. 

Many of us have been taught that the day of 
miracles passed away with the apostles. We are 
taught that the extraordinary gifts which were be- 
stowed upon the primitive church, passed away with 
primitive times. This I seriously question, in fact I 
do not believe it, and have never believed such teach- 
ing. Neither do I see how anyone else can believe 
such teaching, if they will consider the words of 
Christ. Jesus in speaking to His disciples just before 
He was received up into heaven said to them, "Go 
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every 
creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall 
be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned." 
Now we are taught that every creature through all 
time that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. We 
are taught to accept these words just as we find them. 
This commission did not pass away with the apostles. 
Salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus did not pass 
away with the apostle, nor with the primitive church. 

But when we proceed just a little farther, and take 
something else that this same Jesus said, at the same 
time, to the same apostles, namely, when we take the 
words of the text: "And these signs shall follow 

294 North Carolina Sermons. 

them that beHeve: In my name shall they cast out 
devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they 
shall take up serpents ; and if they drink any deadly 
thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands 
on the sick, and they shall recover." These same 
teachers w4io claim that the commission to preach 
the gospel has not passed away, tell us that these 
signs which Christ says shall follow them that believe, 
passed away with the apostles. Why accept the 
w^ords of Christ in one instance, and then reject them 
in the other? Christ says, "He that believeth and 
is baptized shall be saved." In this instance we 
accept the words of Christ, and profess to believe 
them. But when we come to the signs that Christ 
says shall follow them that believe, most people are 
ready to say that these signs passed away with the 
apostles, or with the primitive days of Christianity. 
Judging from the words of Jesus, do you think He 
intended to teach that these signs should follow none 
but the apostles or primitive Christians? Do the 
words of the Saviour — the words of the text — con- 
vey such an idea to candid searchers after Bible 
truth? Christ says, "These signs shall follow them 
that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; 
they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take 
up serpents ; and if the}'' drink any deadly thing, it 
shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the 
sick and they shall recover." And I believe He 
meant it for all time. His language does not limit 
these signs to a particular age or generation. But 
Hesavs, " These sio^ns shall follow them that believe." 

The Lost Legacy. 295 

Another instructor in biblical law comes forward 
and tells that there is ground for believing that the 
last twelve verses of the gospel by Mark were not 
written by that Evangelist. 

That includes the text, and this last instructor 
would lead us out of the dilemma by striking out a 
part of the gospel by Mark. But we strike out noth- 
ing. The evidences of our expositor are not suffi- 
cient. We still cling to the text just as we have it, 
and stoutly affirm that Christ means what He says — 
and maintain that these signs did follow them that 
believed in the early days of Christianity. Let us 
see if these signs did follow the primitive followers 
of Christ. 

" In my name shall they cast out devils." We know 
from Scripture that Jesus cast out many devils; and 
we learn from the same book of inspiration and 
revelation that the power to cast out devils in the 
name of Jesus followed the first believers and preach- 
ers of Christ. The seventy disciples that Christ sent 
out, two and two, into every city and place whither 
He Himself would come, returned to Christ after 
fulfilling their mission, with joy, saying, "Lord, even 
the devils are subject unto us through thy name." 

On one occasion the disciples saw some one cast- 
ing out devils in the name of Jesus, and they for- 
bade him. John reported the matter to Jesus, and 
said, "Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy 
name, and we forbade him, because he followeth not 
us." "Jesus said unto him, forbid him not: for he 
that is not against us is for us." We learn from this 

296 North Carolina Sermons. 

instance that the disciples seemed to think that this 
power to cast out devils belonged to Christ and His 
immediate personal followers. But Jesus shows by 
his reply that others besides his immediate and per- 
sonal attendants had the right and power to cast out 
devils in His name. That others besides those who 
heard Him with the natural ears, and saw Him with 
the natural eyes, had the right and power to perform 
miracles in His name. This right and power belongs 
to them that believe. In the name of Jesus shall 
they cast out devils. 

A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divina- 
tion followed Paul and his companions at Philippi. 
And she, though possessed of an evil spirit, cried, 
saying, "These men are the servants of the most 
high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. 
And this she did many days. But Paul, being 
grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command 
thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. 
And he came out the same hour." 

" God wrought special miracles by the hands of 
Paul." The sacred writer informs us that handker- 
chiefs or aprons from the body of Paul were brought 
unto the sick and the disease departed from them, 
and the evil spirits went out of them. The text tells 
us that to cast out devils in the name of Jesus is one 
of the signs that shall follow them that believe. 
There must be belief before the power comes. There 
is no power without faith. We have recorded an 
instance in which certain vagabond Jews, exorcists, 
undertook to cast out evil spirits by calling over 

The Lost Legacy. 297 

them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord 
Jesus, saying, " We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul 
preached." "The evil spirit answered and said, 
Jesus I know, and Paul I know ; but who are ye ? " 
" And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped 
on them, and overcome them, and prevailed against 
them, so that they fled out of the house naked and 
wounded." We know not exactly how long this 
power to cast out devils in the name of Jesus con- 
tinued. It appears by the testimony of early writers 
that this power to cast out devils was more common 
among Christians than any other, and that it lasted 
longer. So we have clearly established that this 
sign, the power to cast out devils, followed the prim- 
itive believers for a considerable time after the ascen- 
sion of Christ. 

The next sign mentioned in the text is that they who 
believe, ^' shall speak with new tongues^ They should 
speak a language which they had never learned; and 
what a vast amount of labor and time it saved the 
€arly preachers of Christianity. By a miracle they 
became masters of the language in which they were 
to preach Christ. No long years of tedious study as 
we have in this day to learn the language of those 
who know not God, in order to preach Jesus to them. 
This sign, says Christ, shall follow them that believe: 
" They shall speak with new tongues; " and this sign 
did follow believers in the early days of Christianity. 
O, what a grand means of spreading the gospel ! 
What a divine testation of confirming the truth of 
the religion of Jesus Christ. If our missionaries 

298 North Carolina Sermons. 

possessed this power of speaking with new tongues, 
how the gospel, it seems to me, would spread in 
heathen lands. I believe to speak with new tongues 
is a sign and power which belongs to those who are 
called of God to preach the gospel to those of a dif- 
ferent tongue. 

Does not Christ say that this sign shall follow 
them that believe. " They shall speak with new 
tongues." Did He say how long this sign should 
follow believers? Has He ever revoked the power 
of speaking with new tongues? If so, when? If 
Christ has not revealed the power of speaking with 
new tongues; then why do we accept the teachings 
of those who say, " that the attestation of Christi- 
anity is complete; and that other means are now suf- 
ficient to accomplish the end for which miracles were 
originally designed." Is such teaching in accord- 
ance with the words of Jesus? Jesus says plainly 
and pointedly, that "these signs shall follow them 
that believe : In my name shall they cast out devils ; 
they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take 
up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it 
shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands (ui the 
sick, and they shall recover." Have we no heathen 
in our day, who are just as ignorant of Jesus, as 
were many of those visited by Paul and other apos- 
tolic missionaries? Are their souls not just as pre- 
cious in the sight of God as the souls of the heathen 
in the apostolic times? If so, why have the power 
denied us to speak with new tongues? By speaking 
with new tongues we could tell the dying heathen 

The Lost Legacy. 299 

at once of Jesus and His love. Think, ma}^ this 
power not yet belong to Christianity, but the bene- 
fits of which we reap not because of unbelief. "All 
things are possible to him that believeth." Then 
may we not be losing by unbelief, one of the greatest 
means of spreading the gospel ? Have we any right 
to teach that this gift of speaking with new tongues 
passed away with the apostles, when Christ says that 
it shall follow them that believe? I ask candidly, 
have we a right to teach something contrary to the 
words of Christ because we have lost by unbelief, or 
because we have never had, on account of unbelief, 
some of the signs which accompanied believers in 
the early days of Christianit}^ ? Have we a right to 
so interpret the words of Jesus as to justify the posi- 
tion which we occupy? Honest minds answer, no! 
But I think that is just what we are doing when we 
say these extraordinary signs which accompany 
believers in the early stages of Christianity were 
doomed by the giver, Christ, to pass away with those 
days and people. 

I am frank to admit that many of these signs are 
gone, to us, at present; but I believe it to be our 
fault. We lose them for want of faith. Christ says, 
" these signs shall follow them that believe." He 
does not limit the time. Many of the early Chris- 
tians did speak with new tongues as on the day of 
Pentecost, when people from almost all parts of the 
then known world heard the gospel in their own 
tongue. While Peter preached in the house of Cor- 
nelius the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard 

300 North Carolina Sermons. 

the word, and they spake with tongues and magni- 
fied God. Thus the first Gentile converts received 
this sign. Tiiey spake with new tongues. Paul laid 
his hands upon certain disciples at Ephesus that had 
been baptized unto John's baptism ; and the Holy 
Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues, 
and prophesied. Thus the gospel was introduced at 
Ephesus accompanied by one of the signs which 
Christ says shall follow them that believe: "They 
shall speak with new tongues." Paul, in his letter 
to the Corinthians, says: "I thank my God, I speak 
with tongues more than ye all." We have proven 
to us beyond a doubt that the power to speak with 
new tongues followed the early Christians. 

Ihe third sign which the text mentions as following 
them that believe is that, " They shall take up serpents." 
Christ said to the seventy upon their return to Him : 
"Behold I give unto you power to tread on serpents 
and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy ; 
and nothing shall by any means hurt you." We 
have an example in which the third sign mentioned 
in the text followed an early preacher of the gospel. 
Paul, shipwrecked on a barbarian island, gathered a 
bundle of sticks, laid them on the fire, and there 
came out of the heat a viper and fastened on his 
hand. The barbarians saw it and thought that ven- 
geance had overtaken an escaped murderer. Paul 
"shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm." 
When the barbarians saw that no harm came to Paul 
" they changed their minds, and said that he was a 
god." We are told that Philip preaching that Christ 

The Lost Legacy. 301 

came at last to Hieropolis in Phrygia, and that " by 
his prayers, and after calling on the name of Christ, 
he procured the death, or at least the vanishing, of 
an enormous serpent, to which they paid adoration. 

The fourth sign rtientioned in the text is that if 
believers drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them. 
If, when persecuted, believers are compelled by their 
persecutors to drink any deadly poison it shall not 
hurt them. This was an important promise to 
believers, especially in the early days of Christianity, 
when we remember that the practice of poisoning 
was common in that age, and that executions took 
place frequently by poisoning; and it might be 
expected that the enemies of Christians would seek 
in this way to destroy them. But the promise is that 
if believers drink auy deadly thing it shall not hurt 

The fifth sign which the text mentions as following- 
them that believe, is this, that " they shall lay hands on 
the sick and they shall recover^ We know many 
instances in the apostles' times in which this was 
practiced by believers. Many of the elders of the 
church had this power to heal the sick, as appears 
from James v: 14 — "Is any sick among you? let him 
call for the elders of the church ; and let them pray 
over him, anointing him with oil in the name of 
the Lord : And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, 
and the Lord shall raise him up." This power to 
heal the sick is not enjoyed by the professors of reli- 
gion at the present time, and it is wrong, in my 
opinion, to keep up the form of anointing with oil 

302 North Carolina Sermons. 

as is done by some denomiDations, when the power 
to heal is not there. 

Peter possessed this power to a wonderful degree. 
"Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the 
streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at 
least the shadow of Peter passing might overshadow 
some of them." 

Ananias of Damascus placed his hands on blind 
Saul, and Saul received his sight. The father of 
Publius lay sick, " to whom Paul entered in, and 
prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him." 
Many other instances might be given, but it is 
enough for us to know that this sign, the power to 
heal the sick, followed believers in the first century 
and possibly longer. We have accounts of this 
anointing with oil and healing being practiced in 
the church two hundred years after Christ. When 
that miraculous gift of healing ceased, this right of 
anointing with oil was laid aside. How long mira- 
cles continued in the church has been a matter of 
keen dispute. Some say they continued no longer 
than the days of the apostles ; others maintain that 
they continued long after. Burkitt, in his notes on 
the New Testament, says, " This power of working 
miracles continued in the church an hundred years 
after Christ's ascension, until Christianity had taken 
root in the hearts of men. Irenseus, a believer, second 
in succession after John, says, that many believers, be- 
sides the apostles, had this power of working miracles. 
Gibbon in his History of Rome says, *' The Christian 
Church, from the time of the apostles and their first 

The Lost Legacy. 303 

disciples, have claimed an uninterrupted succession 
of miraculous power, the gift of tongues, of visions, 
and of prophecy, the power of expelling demons, of 
healing the sick, and of raising the dead. The knowl- 
edge of foreign language," he says, " was frequently 
communicated to the contemporaries of Irenasus, 
though Irenteus himself was left to struggle with the 
diflBculties of a barbarous dialect, whilst he preached 
the gospel to the natives of Gaul." We know that 
believers once possessed the power to work miracles, 
and we further know that Christ says, " These signs 
shall follow them that believe: In my name shall 
they cast out devils ; they shall speak with new 
tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they 
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; they 
shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." 
Now why is it that these signs do not now follow 
professing believers? Is it that there are none who 
believe ? Or is it that the day of miracles has ceased? 
Most teachers would have us believe that the day of 
miracles has ceased. If so, why have they ceased ? 
These same teachers tell us that the gospel is suffi- 
ciently rooted in the minds and hearts of men as 
not to need these extraordinary evidences of its truth. 
A very plausible reason, since these miraculous evi- 
dences do not follow believers in this day. Such an 
explanation justifies the position held by most pro- 
fessing Christians, and prevents an inquiry concern- 
ing Christ's words in the text. We must not infer 
that everyone of the early Christians possessed the 
power spoken of in the text. " For to one is given 

304 North Carolina Sermons. 

by the Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another the 
word of knowledge by the same Spirit ; to another 
faith by the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of healing 
by the same Spirit; to another the working of mira- 
cles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of 
spirits ; to another divers kinds of tongues ; to an- 
other the interpretation of tongues." So we find 
that, "there are diversities of gifts, but the same 
Spirit. And there are differences of administrations 
but the same Lord. And there are diversities of 
operations, but it is the same God which worketh 
all in all." This power of working miracles, of cast- 
ing out devils, of speaking strange languages aided 
wonderfully in spreading and propagating the gospel. 
I do not think that the text teaches, that all who 
ever believed, would be enabled to work miracles, 
or that none except those who had saving faith would 
perform them. The teaching of the text is, that 
these signs would follow them that believe, "that is, 
would be manifestly displayed among them." I do 
not think, beloved, that the day of miracles has 
passed. It is true we have lost, or have never had, 
the power in our day to work miracles. But why 
have we not that power? We have the same source 
from which to obtain power. The same means, faith, 
by which it is obtained, is at our command, if we 
would use it. May it not be that we have not these 
wonderful signs following us, because we have not 
faith ? " And these signs shall follow them that 
believe." Do not think that a man's salvation 
depends upon his working miracles, for such a thing 

The Lost Legacy. 305 

is not true. A man may perform miracles and yet 
be lost. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, 
not through the power to work miracles. " And 
though I have all faith so that I could remove moun- 
tains and have not charity I am nothing." I am 
firmly of the opinion that believers may have power 
to perform miracles, when called of God for the spe- 
cial work of propagating the gospel. If necessary,, 
miraculous evidences will be given to establish the- 
gospel, provided the believer exercises the necessary- 

But seeing we have not power to work miracles,, 
let us inquire into the reason of such a lack. 

Why have we not these signs following us in this 
day? There must be, there is, a reason. What can 
it be? Is it because there is no need of such won- 
derful and strong evidences to convince men of the 
truth, and bring them to Christ? Certainly not. 
We have heathen, I think, as ignorant of Jesus as 
those of the apostolic times. Infidels, atheists, skep- 
tics are in our midst, and the church is destitute of 
these strong evidences of primitive times. We have 
a great deal of form, but very little power of godli- 
ness. Will not some standard be raised to stay the 
coming enemy of unbelief? We have God's Word, 
and it, with its many precious promises, is sufficient 
to subdue every enemy. Will we as professors not 
avail ourselves of God's promises, and reap the ben- 
efit derived therefrom? Romanism, with its errors 
and fabulous miracles ; spiritualism, with its pre- 
tended communication with departed spirits ; mate- 

306 North Carolina Sermons. 

rialism, with its self-existent and self-directed theory ; 
each, it seems to me, demands the return of these 
primitive gifts which believers once enjoyed. If the 
occasion exists, and it is evident to my mind that it 
does, why do not the signs which once followed be- 
lievers follow them now? There is but one answer 
which I deem correct ; and it is this, namely, a de- 
cline in faith brings a decline in miraculous gifts. I 
believe the power to work miracles has been lost for 
a time by want of faith and neglect of Christian 
duty. When we have faith sufficient we will have a 
return of the wonderful gifts. 

Did the disciples ever fail to perform miracles when 
they tried? Yes. We have one noted instance in 
which a father, who had a son possessed with a dumb 
spirit, besought the disciples to cast the spirit out, and 
they could not. Now the day of miracles had not 
passed, but the power to cast the dumb spirit out of 
the boy the disciples had not. What was the reason 
of this lack of power? I suppose our modern teach- 
ers would say the day of miracles had passed, or that 
the gospel was sufficiently rooted in the minds and 
hearts of men as not to need such a miraculous evi- 
dence of the power of Christ. Such was not the rea- 
son. Christ tells the disciples when they asked Him 
privately, why they could not cast out the spirit. 
" This kind," says Jesus " can come forth by nothing 
but by prayer and fastings." The disciples had not 
used the means at hand by which they could cast 
out a dumb spirit, and hence their failure. May we 
not from this instance learn why it is that professing 

The Lost Legacy. 307 

believers have not the signs mentioned in the text 
following them to-day? May it not be that they 
use not the means which bring these wonderful 
gifts, and hence they have them not. " These signs 
shall follow them that believe." God who can and 
will save a man, when he accepts Christ, can and 
will make a sick man well when the necessary faith 
is exercised by the afflicted. If we, dear friends, 
have, by unbelief, lost these signs which Christ says 
shall follow them that believe, let us by faith find 
them. Remember that there is no power without 
faith. Any departure from God's lawjs attended by 
loss of power. Did prophets cease to be before the 
Jews lost the power of godliness? Did the Jewish 
nation decline before they forgot God ? Did these 
wonderful signs which follow^ed believers in the early 
days of the gospel cease to exist before the believers 
lost the faith by which these signs were wrought? 
Ah ! beloved, I fear we have a form of godliness, but 
deny the power thereof 

Without a belief in miracles, the sad-hearted 
mother imprints the last kiss upon the brow of her 
babe cold in death, with never a hope of seeing and 
meeting her little one in some better clime. Without 
a belief in miracles, we say good-bye to loved ones in 
the hour of death, and there is no hope of meeting 
where parting is no more. Be of good cheer, beloved. 
God will gather up all thy loved ones, and you shall 
see them again. Yes, we believe in the resurrection. 
We preach it; and we like to think of it. Oh! it 
was sad when we said farewell ; our lips quivered, 

308 North Carolina Sermons. 

our eyes bedimmed with tears, our hearts sad; our 
lips moved, but not a word they said ; our hands 
pressed their hands, our lips kissed the brow of the 
loved dead ; it was our hearts that said farewell. 
The heart spoke not in words, but we knew it was 
saying good-bye. 

It is sad to say farewell to those who are dying ; 
but how sweet to think of greeting on the eternal 
shore of rest, sweet rest. We believe there have been 
miracles. To doubt the miracles of the past, is to 
doubt God's Word. We believe there will be mira- 
cles. To doubt the miracles which will be is to deny 
the resurrection. We believe in miracles; we hope 
in them, and we love to sing — 

" We shall sleep, but not forever, 

There ■will be a glorious dawn ! 
We shall meet to part no never. 

On the resurrection morn ! 
From the deepest caves of ocean, 

From the desert and the plain, 
From the valley and the mountain, 

Countless throngs shall rise again. 

When we see a precious blossom 

That we tended with such care. 
Rudely taken from our bosom, 

How our aching hearts despair! 
Round its little grave we linger. 

Till the settiug sun is low, 
Feeling all our hopes have perished 

With the flow'r we cherished so. 

We shall sleep, but not forever, 

In the lone and silent grave; 
Blessed be the Lord that taketh. 

Blessed be the Lord that gave. 
In the bright eternal city. 

Death can never come ! 
In His own good time He'll call us. 

From our i-est, to Home, sweet Home." 

The Lost Legacy. 309 

When we lay our loved ones, cold in death, down 
in the dark and silent grave, it is with a hope that 
we shall meet them in a better clime. 

When a mother buries the brightest flower of her 
household in the cheerless grave, it is with a hope 
that it will come forth on the resurrection morn, and 
blossom ever more in an eternal home of love. 

We believe there will be a resurrection. To doubt 
the resurrection, is to enshroud loving and tender 
hearts in the blackest gloom of midnight. It is to 
say good-bye to happiness, to heaven, and to loved 
ones at life's latest hour, without a hope of ever see- 
ing them in that rest which ''remaineth for the peo- 
ple of God." There can be no resurrection without 
a miracle. We believe in the miracles of the past; 
we believe there will be miracles in the future; then 
why not believe now the words of Jesus, when He 
says " These signs shall follow them that believe: In 
my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak 
with new tongues ; they shall take up serpents ; and 
if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt 
them ; shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall 

110 North Carolina Sermons. 

By Theo. H. Hill, 

Of Raleigh, North Carolina 

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and 
the Word was God."— John i : 1. 

This is tlie first utterance of St. Jolin the Evan- 
gelist in attestation of the essential Divinity of our 
Lord Jesus Ciirist. Of all men, "the beloved disci- 
ple" knew him best, and he wrote by inspiration of 
God, the Holy Ghost. His testimony is therefore 

No one will deny that St. John, in this verse, 
designates Christ as " the Word," and accords un- 
equivocally to Him the attributes of God. 

First, underived self-existence, for, "in the begin- 
ning was the Word." By the expression, "and the 
Word was with God," equality with the Father and 
the Holy Ghost is explicitly declared, and the climax 
follows — an irresistible conclusion from the previous 
predicates — " and the Word was God." 

If, then, Christ was the Word, and the Word was 
God, then was Christ verily God. 

In John i: 3, we have these words: "All things 
were made by Him, and without Him was not any- 
thing made that was made." 

Omnipotence is an inalienable attribute of God. 
He who made all things is God. All things were 
made by Christ, so Christ is God. In John i : 12, it is 
said, "But as many as received Him, to them gave 
He power to become the Sons of God." This power 

On the Divinity of Christ. 311 

to become the Sons of God, is in the gift of God 
alone. If Christ bestowed and still bestows this 
power, then Christ is God. 

In John iii: 13, Christ says to Nicodemus, " And 
no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that 
came down from heaven, even the Son of man which 
is in heaven." Here omnipresence is claimed by 
Christ, for God only could be on earth, and still 
remain in heaven. 

Christ claimed and exercised the power to forgive 
sins. When the Pharisees reasoned within them- 
selves, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? 
Who can forgive sins but God only ? " Christ proved 
the divinity He claimed, and exhibited present om- 
niscience, as well as omnipotence, by reading the 
thoughts of their hearts, and saying to the sick of 
the palsy, whose sins he had pronounced forgiven, 
" Arise, take up thy bed and walk." 

The miracles performed by Jesus Christ attest His 
divinity. They were wrought by the power of God 
and He claimed to exercise this power in His own 
right and name. He suspended the laws of Nature at 
will. Asleep " in the hinder part of the ship," He was 
awakened by His affrighted disciples when a tempest 
came down on the Sea of Tiberias. He spake, and 
the cyclone was hushed to a whisper, and the angry 
billows fawned at His feet. 

He gave the people bread in the wilderness, multi- 
plying a few loaves and fishes by the same creative 
power by which He had "framed the worlds." He 
healed all manner of diseases, cast out devils, gave 

312 North Carolina Sermons. 

sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to 
the deaf, and life to the dead. All these wonders 
were wrought in His own name and in virtue of His 
absolute, inherent, substantial oneness with God the 
Father and God the Holy Ghost. To these we must 
add that crowning miracle — Plis own resurrection, 
for " He arose from the dead on the third day." 
These things were not done in a corner. Christ's 
miracles were many and public, invariably benefi- 
cent in purpose and result, and were (witli but few 
exceptions) done in the presence of His enemies. 
Their genuineness was not impugned by His con- 
temporaries, and there is no human testimony which 
in point of credibility can be compared with the con- 
current utterances of the evangelists and "apostles. 

In view of His wonderful works, and of the mirac- 
ulous and minute fulfillment of numerous and seem- 
ingly conflicting prophecies in relation to His birth, 
His ministry, His death and His exaltation, it is 
strange that the truth of His perfect hum.anity has 
not been assailed by deists and agnostics, rather than 
the impregnable stronghold ef His divinit}'. 

The timid seeker after truth, who came to Him by 
night, not only said, " We know that thou art a teacher 
come from God," but added, " for no man can do the 
miracles that thou doest except God be with him." 
"Immanuel" was one of the prophetic designations 
of the promised Messiah, and, being interpreted, is 
" God with us." How deep the significance of this 
name appears, as we ponder the words of Nicodemus, 
" except God be with him" ! 

On the Divinity op Christ. 313 

After His resurrection, Christ said to one of his 
disciples, " Reach hither thy finger, and behold my 
hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into 
nay side; and be not faithless but believing " "And 
Thomas answered and said unto him. My Lord and 
my God." 

The witnesses of His ascension — '' the eleven," and 
they that were with them — " worshipped Him as He 
was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." 

St. Jude calls Christ " the only wise God, our 
Saviour." St. Paul says that " He is God over all, 
blessed forever"; that "all things were created by 
him, and for him " ; that " He is before all things, 
and by him all things consist, and that " in Him 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." 
Isaiah styles Him " the mighty God, the Everlasting 
Father," and represents Him as calling on lost sin- 
ners, saying, " Look unto Me, and be saved, for 1 am 
God, and there is none else, and beside me there is 
no Saviour." 

It would be easy to multiply citations from Holy 
Scripture attesting this glorious truth, but we will 
close with Christ's own declarations: " Before Abra- 
ham was, I Am," and " I and my Father are one." 

It has thus been shown that Jesus the Christ pub- 
licly, frequently and explicitly asserted for Himself 
ineffable unity with the Father and the Holy Ghost, 
and either this claim was true or He was false. He 
" who spake as never man spake," was either very 
God, or the veriest impostor. Faith in falsehood is 
death to the soul, but faith in the Lord Jesus Christ 


314 N(9e,th Carolina Sermons. 

is life from the dead, for its vitalizing, transforming 
power has raised millions of our race from the death 
in trespasses and in sins to a life of righteousness. 
To sincere seekers after truth in every age, He who 
is "the Life, the Truth, and the Way," has not left 
Himself without witness ; but it is true now, as it 
was when " the Word was made flesh and dwelt 
among us," that " the natural man receiveth not the 
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness 
unto him ; neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned." It is as true now, as then, 
that " God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to 
the humble." 

If they only had ears to hear, with what startling 
emphasis would this declaration of the Saviour, 
whom they reject and despise, penetrate the souls of 
scoffers and skeptics in these " latter days " — " If they 
hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be 
persuaded though 07ie rose from the dead." 

Date Due 

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